Revival Food Hall closes Loop space due to slow return-to-office

Venture tied to development firm Blue Star that helped set off new wave of cafeteria-style dining spaces in urban centers is pulling out of 125 South Clark Street

Revival Food Hall Closing Loop Space due to Slow Return-to-Office

From left: 16″ OC’s Craig Golden and Bruce Finkelman along with 125 South Clark Street (Getty, 16″ OC, Google Maps)

Look for foodies to follow office workers west from the Central Loop, as the operator of a once-trend setting dining hall retreats from The National office building on Clark Street to focus on the Old Post Office just across the Chicago River.

The owner of the Revival Food Hall plans to close the operation at The National at 125 South Clark to concentrate on a similar retail offering within the Old Post Office, CoStar News reported.

Commerz Real, the Dusseldorf, Germany-based owner of The National, said it plans to get a new operator for its food hall space. It’s unclear whether, or which, tenants are bound by leases at the location.

The Revival played a significant role in turning plain-old food courts into gussied-up dining halls almost 10 years ago. However, the liveliness associated with the concept has taken hits since the pandemic, with the Central Loop a particular sore point amid an overall 25 percent vacancy for Chicago’s larger downtown area, according to second quarter data from CBRE.

16” on Center, the owner and operator of both Revival and the food hall in the Old Post Office, said a slow return to in-person work has clipped its sales and Commerz Real gave no ground on lease negotiations in the wake of the pandemic. The food hall operator is tied to development firm Blue Star Properties, which redeveloped 125 South Clark — a 20-story former Chicago Public Schools building — with investor Wolcott Group after buying it for $28 million in 2015.

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Blue Star and Wolcott sold the building to Commerz for $197 million in 2018, the outlet reported.

“Since reopening after COVID, inviting people back downtown has been our mission,” a social media post by 16” on Center said. “Our vision was that Revival would serve the Loop community for many years to come. Unfortunately, without better business terms from our landlord, Revival cannot continue.”

There are bigger long-term plans stirring hope for the Loop in the face of ongoing record vacancy rates — the Loop’s retail vacancy surpassed 30 percent earlier this year — and the closure of the high-profile food hall.

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Google’s redevelopment of the James R. Thompson Center remains on track at Clark and Lake streets, and  JP Morgan Chase recently announced plans to overhaul and remain in its namesake 60-story office building at Dearborn and Madison streets. 

Those moves follow departures from the Central Loop by Bank of America and BMO Financial, both of which relocated major office operations to newly developed buildings on Wacker Drive and in the West Loop, respectively.

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