Chicago office broker wants to break into development in Fulton Market

Former office leasing broker for Sterling Bay and Telos Group eyes city’s hottest area

Chicago /
Apr.April 14, 2022 10:33 AM

Joy Jordan and 415-417 N. Sangamon Street (LinkedIn, Google Maps)

Joy Jordan wants to develop Chicago offices after nearly a decade selling them as a broker representing some of the city’s highest-profile landlords.

The 34-year-old former Telos Group and Sterling Bay leasing agent is under contract to buy Fulton Market property with plans to develop an office building up to 200,000 square feet, she told Crain’s. Jordan parted with Sterling Bay last year after helping lease its Lincoln Yards project, and previously oversaw leasing at Willis Tower and other downtown buildings for Telos.

She didn’t specify which property she’s buying, but the outlet reported she is targeting a half-acre site at 415-417 North Sangamon Street for redevelopment, citing people familiar with her plans.

Her project, should it receive City Council approval for a needed zoning change, would be the latest office project to rise in Fulton Market, the lone Chicago commercial real estate market to gain tenants during the pandemic. The district has posed a challenge for older properties in the Loop amid the slow return to office as it has landed top-tier tenants seeking new development and amenities.

“Fulton Market has just been on fire, and there’s not enough supply to meet the demand on the office side,” Jordan told Crain’s.

Fulton Market will also present Jordan with plenty of competition from her neighbors, with established developers like her former employer Sterling Bay and Trammell Crow planning new office buildings in the neighborhood. Another 150,000-square-foot office building at 1045 West Fulton Street was recently completed without signing any tenants. Although its developer Fulton Street Cos. is closing in on a lease with law firm Norton Rose Fulbright in what could be a game-changer for the district by landing its first big law firm, a departure from the Loop’s hold on traditional non-tech tenants.

Jordan named her development venture Fortem Voluntas, a Latin phrase meaning “strong will,” in part because she stands out among Chicago’s mostly male major office developers.

“A lot of women are just too scared and don’t feel like they have the support from capital (investors),” Jordan told Crain’s. “It’s a very male, buddy-buddy business (where) the capital knows the capital and women are just not part of that community.”

Her investors include high-net worth real estate investors and she plans to develop the building on speculation, with no tenants signed in advance of construction, betting Fulton Market’s allure keeps growing. Another former Sterling Bay employee, Howard Blair, is also an investor, and is consulting for Jordan to oversee construction details of the project. It will likely cost $100 million total, including the land acquisition, she told Crain’s.

The property at the northeast corner of Sangamon and Kinzie streets holds a 43,738-square-foot building and a vacant lot next door, both owned by an entity tied to investor Grey Bemis-Kelley, Crain’s reported, citing public records. The property owner hired Cushman & Wakefield last year to market the property, and people familiar with Fulton Market pricing told Crain’s they expect it to sell for more than $11 million, or $500 per square foot.

[Crain’s] – Sam Lounsberry





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