Razny Jewelers pays $16.4M for Oak Street expansion

Seller Nuveen takes a $2.5M loss from its 2014 purchase price for 107 East Oak

Razny Jewelers Pays $16.4M for Oak Street Expansion
Razny Jewelers' Stan and Ingrid Razny, Nuveen CEO Jose Minaya and 107 East Oak Street in Chicago (Razny Jewelers, Nuveen)

The family behind Razny Jewelers in Chicago’s high-end Gold Coast retail district is betting big on the neighborhood with an expansion.

An entity linked to the business paid $16.4 million for the 6,300-square-foot building to an affiliate of Chicago-based Nuveen, the investment arm of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, public records show. The deal comes out to $2,600 per square foot.

But it’s likely the buyer sees value in the land as it is expected to tear down the structure and rebuild its own space customized to its needs, according to people familiar with the market.

“It was perfect timing for us to purchase 107 East Oak,” Stan Razny, president of the retailer, said through a spokesperson. “The street has a rich history, and our goal is to invest in the community. While our plans for utilizing the site are still in the early stages, we love the area. We are confident that whatever direction we take will open up new opportunities for growth and economic development and enhance the neighborhood.”

It’s unclear whether Razny will keep its smaller location at 109 East Oak while expanding into the property next door, or if it will exit and make a full move into the newer space.

It was a slight loss for the seller, which had paid $18.9 million for the property in 2014, Cook County property records show. Nuveen made the sale after menswear retailer Paul Stuart opted to leave the Oak Street property for space on the Magnificent Mile at 822 North Michigan Avenue.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Yet considering the interest rate hikes that have cut into commercial real estate values over the past two years, the sale price reflected the relative health and strong demand for Oak Street, which has become Chicago’s ritziest shopping destination, as Michigan Avenue and State Street have struggled to recover from the pandemic.

Nuveen didn’t return a request for comment.

The Paul Stuart move represented a rare one by a luxury fashion brand from Oak Street, as most such changes by these tenants have been in the reverse direction in recent years.

Brokerage Mid-America Real Estate’s Stan Nitzberg, Lara Keene and Greg Bayer represented Nuveen in the transaction. The Razny venture used an $11.6 million mortgage loan from Busey Bank for the acquisition, property records show.

The deal also prolongs a trend in which high-end retail occupants are moving to buy properties rather than lease to control their real estate. In New York, fashion houses Gucci and Prada have combined to spend upwards of $1.7 billion to buy prime Fifth Avenue retail buildings they had leased from Jeff Sutton in recent months.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to add a statement from Stan Razny.

Read more