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Not Spec For Long: McDermott To Anchor Hines' New 45-Story River Point Office Tower

Law Firm Signs LOI To Lease Approx. 225,000SF In New West Loop Office Tower
January 22, 2013
Law firm McDermott Will & Emery confirmed it signed a letter of intent with development partners Hines and Ivanhoé Cambridge to relocate its downtown Chicago office and become the first tenant in River Point, a new 45-story West Loop office tower under construction at 444 W. Lake Street. The law firm expects to take occupancy in the new riverfront building by the spring of 2017 when its current lease at 227 W. Monroe Street expires.

McDermott will lease approximately 225,000 of the approximately 900,000 square feet in the new building, which was designed by Pickard Chilton Architects and broke ground last week.

The law firm was reported to be considering a number of existing and proposed buildings ahead of its current lease expiration in 2017, a factor that played into its selection of the River Point project.

In addition to being attracted by its signature design and location, as well as the track record and financial strength of the Hines/Ivanhoé Cambridge team, the law firm said another important consideration was the fact that the project was 'shovel-ready.' As the first major new office building to be erected in Chicago since the onset of the financial crisis, under construction project enables the law firm to meet its relocation schedule and still incorporate numerous custom design features for its office space, not to mention securing noteworthy signage on the Chicago skyline.

"River Point has been designed to meet all the needs of a 21st Century law firm and we’re very pleased to become its anchor tenant," said McDermott co-chair Peter J. Sacripanti. "We want to thank Hines and Ivanhoé Cambridge for their outstanding cooperation and flexibility throughout this process. We look forward to working with our partners over the next four years to make this building the best it can be."

Colliers International’s David Kahnweiler, Bob Chodos and Steve Levitas represented the law firm in its lease negotiations. Greg Van Schaack and Tom D’Arcy led the team at Hines and Ivanhoé Cambridge along with land partner Lawrence Levy, chairman of The Levy Organization.

McDermott has deep ties to the Windy City. The firm, which now has some 1,100 lawyers in 19 cities around the world, began as a small tax law firm in Chicago in 1934.

This isn't the first time the Texas-based developer has teed-up the new tower at 444 West Lake Street after signing a lead tenant. In March 2008, Hines signed Chicago-based investment banker William Blair & Co. to fill 340,000 square feet in the proposed office tower, which was then planned as a 52-story, 1.1 million-square-foot project at the same location. Groundbreaking was scheduled for late 2008.

But financing for the new office development soon fell victim to deteriorating economic conditions and Hines was forced to shelve the project. Later, in November 2009, William Blair signed a 324,700-square-foot lease extension that will keep the investment bank's offices in the former USG Building at 222 W. Adams Street owned by Tishman Speyer through August 2017.

Now with the backing of Ivanhoé Cambridge, there's little doubt that the second time should prove to be the charm for Hines, and giving the River Point office tower the distinction of being one of the last major office buildings in Chicago not to be built because of the onset of the financial crisis, and the first to rise in the city since the crisis ended.
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