Barings takes loss in $42M River West apartments sale

A predecessor to the seller purchased property from Waterton in 2013 for $56M

Barings Takes Loss in $42M River West Apartments Sale

A photo illustration of Barings CEO Michael Freno and 910 West Huron Street (Getty, Barings, Google Maps)

Barings is taking a hit on the $42 million sale of a River West apartment complex near the development site where a Bally’s casino is planned.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Barings hired Berkardia in July to market the 15-story, 141-unit Mondial River West, at 910 West Huron Street. Pete Evans was the broker on the listing. The buyer is listed as Exposition Capital LLC, with little additional information on the purchaser. A mortgage hasn’t been recorded as part of the deal.

It’s one of several losses on downtown multifamily complexes in recent months, including last year’s second-biggest Chicago apartments sale of the 400-unit North Water apartments in the Streeterville area. That property sold for $173 million, down from seller Invesco’s $240 million purchase price in 2016.

In River West, a predecessor to Barings called Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors — the company was absorbed by the Barings brand in 2016 — took out a $32 million mortgage on the Huron Street property from lender State Farm Life Insurance in 2013. The loan funded the firm’s $56 million purchase from Chicago-based Waterton.

Waterton came away with a gain on its exit after paying $37 million to convert the property from condos into apartments; it bought 124 condos that had been unsold and then snagged the remaining 17 from the other owners.

Evans did not respond to requests for comment, and a representative of Barings declined to comment.

The Huron Street property is one of a small number of multifamily properties to change hands in Chicago in recent months. Although the sector is faring better than the office market, a tight lending environment due to rising interest rates has kept some buyers away.

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The Mondial’s close proximity to the Bally’s casino complex, set to replace the Chicago Tribune printing plant, was seen as a potential selling point when it hit the market. The project was already attracting investors and developers who were anticipating a positive impact from the redevelopment.

Originally developed as condominiums, the Mondial was converted into apartments after the Great Recession; Waterton owned the building for two years before selling it to Cornerstone.

Units in the building are on the larger side, averaging about 1,100 square feet. At the time it was marketed, the building had an occupancy rate of 92 percent, with monthly rents ranging from under $2,000 for a studio apartment to nearly $10,000 for a three-bedroom unit.

Nearby in the West Loop, Breneman Capital has been snatching up multifamily properties in recent months, citing strong rent growth as a motivating factor.

Toward the end of 2023, the firm paid $18.5 million to buy the 52-unit Adams Laflin Place apartments, at 128 South Laflin Street, and $17.9 million for a 47-unit apartment complex 33 South Ashland Avenue. Both properties were sold by Michigan Avenue Real Estate, which is backed by Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

Those were the firm’s first two Chicago purchases since 2020, Breneman founder and CEO Drew Breneman said at the time of the deals.