Sign of the times: Riverside, Nexstar scrap office complex plans

Project for 1.2M sf of office and resi space faced struggling market conditions

Chicago /
Apr.April 21, 2021 03:56 PM
Riverside Investment & Development CEO John O’Donnell and Nexstar Media CEO Perry Sook with a rendering of 700 W. Chicago Avenue (Riverside Investment & Development, Getty, 700 West Chicago)

Riverside Investment & Development CEO John O’Donnell and Nexstar Media CEO Perry Sook with a rendering of 700 W. Chicago Avenue (Riverside Investment & Development, Getty, 700 West Chicago)

A lot has happened in the six years since Tribune Media selected Riverside Investment & Development to build a 1.2 million-square-foot office and residential complex. Plans called for it to rise along the Chicago River across from Goose Island.

In February 2019, Tribune Media put up for sale a separate 30-acre portion of the megadevelopment site, right after winning city approval. Later that year, Nexstar Media Group acquired Tribune.

Now, over a year into the pandemic and amid a tanking office market, Nexstar and Riverside have scrapped their plans for the office and resi complex, according to the Chicago Tribune. The proposed development at 700 W. Chicago Avenue would have also included 300 apartments along seven acres.

Riverside CEO John O’Donnell said Cushman & Wakefield was hired to lease the 120,000-square-foot building on the property — a warehouse the Tribune had used — according to the report. The property may be rented out to a last-mile distribution center. While the office market is at its nadir, the industrial market is soaring. O’Donnell told the Tribune, “we thought looking for office tenants right now was a waste of time.”

The decision comes a week after Onni Group announced plans to build 2,650 apartments and a hotel on nearby Goose Island. That project would include five towers, with the tallest rising 56 stories.

Meanwhile, Riverside recently topped off its 50-story BMO Tower, an office tower the firm is building with Convexity Properties in the West Loop.

[Tribune] — Alexi Friedman 


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