Goodman lands $17M to replace Don Wilson debt on Fulton Market development site

Developer had previously taken out $20M from Wilson’s Convexity on loan that matured late last year

Goodman Scores $17M to Replace Don Wilson Development Site Debt

From left: Theodore Weldon, Rodrigo D’Escoto and Mark Goodman along with a rendering of the planned project at 400 North Elizabeth Street (Getty, Mark Goodman & Associates, The Org, LinkedIn)

After banks shied away from Mark Goodman’s proposal to build lab space in Fulton Market, the developer pivoted to a plan for apartments and scored a $17 million refinancing. It replaces a previous debt provided by prolific Chicago real estate investor Don Wilson.

A joint venture of Goodman, high-tech window company founder Rodrigo D’Escoto and former Lendlease executive Ted Weldon secured the new loan for 400 North Elizabeth Street.

Weldon now heads up Weldon Development Group with other former Lendlease colleagues. He previously helped develop the South Loop luxury apartment complex The Reed at Southbank, among other large-scale housing projects. D’Escoto’s company, Reflection Window + Wall, was hired for the Reed project as well.

Busey Bank, a regional bank based in Champaign, issued the new loan for 400 North Elizabeth. Landing debt from such an institution amid a tight lending market was not only a win for the business partners but also a sign that investing in Chicago’s multifamily market is still considered as a safer bet than other asset classes.

Goodman previously took out a $20 million loan from Wilson’s Convexity Properties under the developer’s previous proposal to build labs, but the debt was set to mature in late 2023.

It’s unclear how the land owners came up with the $3 million difference to pay off the old loan compared to the smaller, new loan from Busey.

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The Goodman venture’s new plans call for two towers standing at 360 and 380 feet tall. They will total 724 units with 20 percent of them set aside as affordable. The Chicago Planning Commission will review the plans May 16. 

The new loan also points to a cooldown in demand for lab space. Highly specialized labs for biotechnology companies were once seen as a better bet post-pandemic than traditional office space because most employees for such companies can’t routinely work from home.

However, a proliferation of proposals may have oversaturated Chicago’s market. While Tramwell Crow Company’s recently completed life sciences buildings at 400 North Aberdeen and 1375 West Fulton in Fulton Market have found success securing leases, others haven’t fared as well.

In Sterling Bay’s forthcoming Lincoln Yards development, a brand new lab building at 1229 West Concord sits empty.

Also in the pipeline, Trammell Crow and Beacon Capital Partners are building Hyde Park Labs, a 302,000-square-foot life science facility near the intersection of 52nd Street and Harper Avenue. It’s expected to cost $225 million to develop.

Meanwhile, multifamily interest in Fulton Market remains strong.

Other developers are capitalizing on the neighborhood’s status as an office and entertainment hub by proposing high-rise apartment projects. More than 2,000 apartment units were under construction in the West Loop as of the third quarter last year, including Crescent Heights’ planned 52-story tower at 420 North May Street, according to Integra Realty Resources.