Related scoops up property near West Loop tower project

Developer may be seeking unused development rights

Related Midwest's Curt Bailey with 800 West Washington Boulevard and 725 West Randolph Street (Related, LoopNet)
Related Midwest's Curt Bailey with 800 West Washington Boulevard and 725 West Randolph Street (Related, LoopNet)

Related has big plans for the West Loop. But what those plans are is still unclear.

The developer that’s planning one of the tallest towers in the prime business district has bought another small property nearby, potentially signaling a new direction for the project.

A venture of Related Midwest bought the 15,800-square-foot building at 800 West Washington Boulevard for $10.1 million, Crain’s reported. It is located across the street from 725 West Randolph Street, where Related proposed a two-building mixed-use complex with a hotel, apartments and offices.

The firm secured city approval for 18 and 52-story towers on top of a podium structure back in 2020. The project is set to rise far above every other building in the Fulton Market District.

Related’s purchase of the Washington Boulevard property, which was brokered by SVN Chicago Commercial, could mean the company is just trying to control more of the land surrounding the project. It’s also possible that Related plans to transfer the unused development rights of the new site to the Randolph Street property to allow for a larger-scale project.

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Chicago’s zoning laws allow for air rights for one property to be transferred to another that is either adjacent or across the street. Developers have maneuvered this multiple times throughout the West Loop and Fulton Market District since the city began allowing larger and denser developments.

People familiar with Related’s plans said it is considering a big change to its planned tower project that would include at least 1 million square feet of office space. An office footprint of that size would be large enough to accommodate JPMorgan Chase, which has been considering leaving the tower it owns at 10 South Dearborn Street for the past few years.

The Washington Boulevard property has about 35,000 square feet of unused development rights.

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— Victoria Pruitt