Check out Cook County’s biggest real estate loans of 2023

Only one office project made the list during a year of challenges for office developers

Chicago’s Biggest Real Estate Loans of 2023

From left: Digital Realty’s Andrew Power; Compass Data Center CEO Chris Crosby; Aligned Data Centers CEO Andrew Schaap; 3333 Beverly Road in Hoffman Estates (top); 1400 East Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village (middle); 505 Northwest Avenue in Northlake (bottom) (Getty, Compass Data Center, Aligned Data Centers, LoopNet, Google Maps)

Cook County’s biggest commercial mortgages and loans of 2023 are marked by what’s missing rather than what made the list.

Only one major office project landed in the top 10 loans this year, as landlords and developers within the asset class have been struggling to get new debt for office construction and refinancing.

Mega mortgages of 2023 included three suburban data center properties, condo inventory loans and industrial properties. Data was collected from Cook County property records by The Real Deal as of Dec. 6, and additions were made as necessary. Loans tied to portfolios spanning multiple non-adjacent properties were excluded.

Aligned Data Centers, 501-505 Northwest Avenue, Northlake | $702M

Aligned Data Centers, based in Plano, Texas, closed out the year with the biggest real estate financing package in Cook County, scoring a deal in December for more than $700 million from two separate lenders for its pair of parcels at 501 and 505 Northwest Avenue. Aligned landed the debt for its 520,000-square-foot data center asset after wrapping up its construction. A $402 million portion came from Toronto Dominion Bank and Wilmington Trust issued $300 million of the debt.

The deal underscored how data center development is becoming a mainstream real estate play in Chicagoland and beyond, as it was the largest mortgage debt deal in a year marked by two other huge loans secured by cloud storage facilities. Meanwhile, Aligned is working to redevelop aging suburban office buildings elsewhere in the northwest suburbs after paying upwards of $60 million to assemble properties spanning 26 acres in Elk Grove Village.

Digital Realty Trust, 2200 Busse Rd., 1400 East Devon Ave., Elk Grove Village | $450M

Austin-based Digital Realty Trust struck a deal with San Francisco-based GI Partners in June to sell the company’s interest in two data centers in Elk Grove Village. Digital Realty had owned the data centers — spanning 485,000 and 305,000 square feet — since it acquired DuPont Fabros Technology real estate investment trust in 2017.

The loan is a 10-year, fixed-rate term from Barclays, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley banks. It’s unclear from records how much of a stake GI purchased, but it was speculated that the deal could value the two properties at $700 million.

Compass Datacenters, 3333 Beverly Road, Hoffman Estates | $367M

Dallas-based Compass Datacenters purchased the former Sears Chicago-area headquarters in September. The mortgage funded purchasing the property at $194 million, as well as demolition to make way for a data center.

The 197-acre property in Hoffman Estates is where Sears built its 2.4 million-square-foot campus of interconnected buildings in 1992 after departing the former Sears Tower, now called the Willis Tower. Sears had been seeking a buyer for the suburban campus since 2021.

Wind Creek Casino, 17300 South Halsted Street, East Hazel Crest | $290M

Wind Creek Hospitality, developer of the $529 million southern suburban casino complex, got $290 million in financing from an affiliated gaming authority in October. The development will feature a 252-key hotel, a 75,000-square-foot entertainment venue, 1,350 slot machines and 56 table games.

Wind Creek is the gaming and hospitality entity for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, a federally recognized Native American tribe based in Alabama. The loan was issued by the PCI Gaming Authority — another entity for Poarch Band of Creek Indians, according to Cook County Records.

Fulton Street Cos., 919 West Fulton Street, Chicago | $233M

In the only office construction loan to make the list, Fulton Street Companies and its partnership with JDL Development and Shanna Khan secured a $233 million construction loan in what is set to be the first major office project to start in over a year. The $300 million 400,000-square-foot project was financed by Arkansas-based Bank OZK and Toronto-based Manulife. Bank OZK issued the project’s senior debt, while Manulife issued the mezzanine debt.

The lead equity investment partner is Khan’s SNK Capital. Khan is the daughter of billionaire Shahid Khan. Fulton Market has been the outlier of Chicago’s dreary office market. Firms have flocked there post-pandemic, and the neighborhood draws premium rents.

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InterPark Holdings, 230 West Washington Street, Chicago | $190M

Ohio-based KeyBank issued the mortgage in August to a limited liability company with the same address as Chicago-based InterPark Holdings, which bills itself as the largest owner of parking real estate in the United States.

Magellan, Residences at the St. Regis, 363 East Wacker Drive, Chicago | $150M

A venture led by Magellan, developer of the 101-story St. Regis tower, took out this condo inventory loan for unsold units within the skyscraper. Its construction was completed in 2020 and it has since turned into some of Chicago’s most expensive real estate, including last year’s priciest residential deal, a $20.6 million penthouse.

The loan was issued by West Street Strategic Solutions Fund, which is managed by Goldman Sachs. Public records show the collateral includes 147 units plus dozens of parking spaces within the property. It was one of two condo inventory loans to crack the top 10 real estate debts issued in Cook County this year.

Intercontinental and John Buck Co., 845 West Madison Street, Chicago | $145M

Chicago-based developer John Buck Company and its Boston-based partner, Intercontinental Real Estate Corp., refinanced this 568-unit West Loop apartments property after wrapping up its construction. But the latest $145 million debt is smaller than its $161 million construction loan taken out ahead of its groundbreaking in 2019.

The deal is among several involving big Chicago real estate owners in which borrowers had to pay down part of a previous debt in order to get a new loan, as opposed to refinancing with larger debt packages which was more easily achieved before interest rate hikes took hold of the market last year.

The mortgage was signed by Paul Nasser, CEO of Intercontinental. Wells Fargo issued the debt in July.

Dermody Properties, 3100 Sanders Road, Northbrook | $134M

Nevada-based Dermody Properties took out $133.8 million from City National Bank to finance its redevelopment of this former office campus into a logistics park. The company is turning the 232-acre site into a 3.2 million-square-foot industrial campus. In September, the developer landed its first tenant in the space, California-based Upside Foods, which leased 187,000 square feet. Upside foods also plans to invest $141 million in the development.

Dermody purchased the campus from Allstate for $232 million in 2022. The developer planned a multi-phased conversion, with the final product spanning 10 logistics buildings.

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GCP, 3507 West 51st Street, Chicago | $131M

Investment firm GCP paid $42 million to buy this 317,000-square-foot warehouse, which has Amazon as a tenant, from developer Conor Commercial in 2020. The company took out a new mortgage for the property in October, according to Cook County Records.

Forethought Life Insurance Company issued the loan.

Lendlease, Cirrus Condos, 211 North Harbor Drive, Chicago | $130M

Another condo inventory loan rounds out Cook County’s biggest real estate loans originated in 2023. Lendlease, the developer of the 47-story, 350-unit Cirrus Condo completed in 2021, snagged the debt using 159 of the property’s unsold units as collateral, along with dozens of parking spaces, public record show.

JPMorgan Chase was the lender.