GW, Drake plan residential conversion of Skokie office building

$90M plan to transform Old Orchard Towers received initial approval

GW, Drake Plan Office-to-Resi Conversion of Old Orchard Towers

A photo illustration of GW Properties’ Mitch Goltz and 5250 Old Orchard Road in Skokie (Getty, GW Properties, LoopNet)

Mitch Goltz is plotting an office-to-residential conversion in a northern Chicago suburb, departing a struggling real estate sector and entering a thriving one.

A joint venture of Goltz’s GW Properties and Glenview-based Drake Group got the greenlight from the Skokie Plan Commission to transform the 1981-built Old Orchard Towers, at 5202 and 5250 Old Orchard Road, into an apartment complex, Crain’s reported

The developers’ $90 million plan, which needs final approval from the village’s board of trustees, entails converting the site’s two seven-story office buildings into multifamily units and adding an outdoor amenity deck atop a 65,000-square-foot parking garage. 

Roughly 32,000 square feet of the complex’s 355,000 square feet would be maintained for office use.

“Skokie is a vibrant market, and there are a lot of opportunities with the growth of Old Orchard,” Goltz told the outlet. 

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The project is the latest sign of a beleaguered office market in Chicago’s suburbs, where the vacancy rate soared to a record high of 29 percent at the midyear point. The remote-work movement, compounded by hiked interest rates and a tough lending environment, has prompted a handful of office landlords to redevelop their assets for uses such as industrial, residential or entertainment. 

For example, Dermody Properties is transforming the former Allstate campus in Glenview into a 10-building, 3.2 million-square-foot logistics park. 

Monthly rents could range from $2.60 to $3 per square foot, Goltz said.

The Skokie Plan Commission’s approval follows other residential developments in the vicinity, including Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s plan for a 300-plus unit apartment complex at the nearby Old Orchard Mall. A joint venture by Tucker Development and Wingspan Development Group is also plotting a 300-unit project nearby.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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