Site of Chicago’s van Gogh exhibit sells for $15M

R2 makes 50% return after buying Germania Club building about three years ago

Germania Club building, 108 West Germania Place (Google Maps)
Germania Club building, 108 West Germania Place (Google Maps)

Chicago developer R2 sold the Germania Club, the building where the “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibit is taking place, to an unidentified buyer from California for $15 million, according to Crain’s. The sale earned R2 a 50 percent return on the 460,000-square-foot property, which it bought for $10 million about three years ago.

The Germania Club property, built in 1888 as a social club for German immigrants in Chicago and located at 108 West Germania Place, has been a safe investment with a steady yield during the pandemic.

The building is fully occupied with tenants including Lincoln Park Preschool and CorePower. Lighthouse Immersive, the Toronto-based producer of the Vincent Van Gogh digital art show, signed a five-year lease for its space. The exhibit opened in February, generating buzz and sell-out crowds, and became a new source of income for the building. The immersive Van Gogh exhibits are taking place across the country.

R2 had considered converting the building’s upper floors into creative office space, but changed its plans after connecting with a broker for Lighthouse Immersive.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

“After a year of ambiguity and fear, investors have been flocking to cash-flowing assets,” Danny Spitz, CEO and managing partner of Greenstone Partners, the Chicago-based brokerage that arranged the sale, told Crain’s.

R2 plans to unload a 140,000-square-foot former factory at 1315 North North Branch Street on Goose Island for more than $50 million. The building is 100 percent occupied with tenants including CB2, the sister company of Crate & Barrel, Elite Staffing and Transportation One logistics. Cushman & Wakefield has been hired to sell the building.

R2 has also started a redevelopment of the former Morton Salt warehouse into a music and entertainment venue with Chicago-based Blue Star Properties along the North Branch of the Chicago River. The building is set to open next summer.

[Crain’s] — Connie Kim