Louis Vuitton’s Mag Mile landlord to sell retail portion of the building

The sale could fetch around $150 million, even as Magnificent Mile retail struggles

A photo illustration of the Palmolive Building at 919 North Michigan Avenue (Google Maps, iStock)
A photo illustration of the Palmolive Building at 919 North Michigan Avenue (Google Maps, iStock)

The owner of the Palmolive Building — home to the Louis Vuitton store on Magnificent Mile — has listed the retail portion of the property, even as the famed shopping district faces post-Covid challenges.

Nuveen Real Estate, the owner of the four-story base of 919 N. Michigan Ave., has listed the building, according to Crain’s. The 51,800-square-foot space is 70 percent occupied and includes the Vuitton store, Breitling and high-end jewelry store David Yurman.

Louis Vuitton, the largest tenant, is locked into a long lease, giving buyers some assurance despite what’s happened to other Mag Mile properties. The luxury French retailer leases 20,000 square feet, and that lease doesn’t expire until 2033.

Nuveen hired CBRE to market the building, and Real Estate Alert, a trade publication, speculated the sale could fetch roughly $150 million.

“This irreplaceable corner, anchored by the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate, offers a generational opportunity to own some of the most coveted real estate in the entire country,” an email from CBRE marketing the property said.

The listing comes at a difficult time for stores on the Magnificent Mile, the city’s most well-known shopping area. The pandemic hit the area hard, and about a quarter of the storefront space on Mag Mile is vacant after major retailers left, according to Crain’s. That includes Macy’s, Gap and Uniqlo.

Two major malls in the area — Water Tower Place and The Shops of North Bridge — lost so much of their value during the pandemic that they’re now worth less than their debt.

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About 16,000 square feet on the third and fourth floors is vacant, Real Estate Alert reported.

A sale price of $150 million for the property would be about $2,900 per square foot. That would be a substantial increase in value from when TIAA bought the building for $89.9 million in 2012, according to Crain’s. TIAA is now a part of Nuveen Real Estate.

CBRE did not respond to requests for comment from Crain’s. Nuveen Real Estate declined to comment.

The 37-story building is a national historic landmark that once served at the home of the Playboy offices. Built in 1929, it was originally home to the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet corporation.

The building was redeveloped in 2002, with the first four floors reserved for high end office and retail and the rest of the building was sold as condominiums, though the residential address is 159 East Walton Place.

[Crain’s] — Miranda Davis

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