CHICAGO—Yesterday, GlobeSt.com reported that Beacon Investment Properties, LLC had completed its acquisition of Riverwalk II, a 12-story, class A office tower in suburban Buffalo Grove, its third major Chicago-area acquisition in six months. And today, managing partner Ariel Bentata tells GlobeSt.com that Chicago and other Midwest cities like Minneapolis now have better deals to offer than gateway markets on the coasts.
“We have a high concentration of properties in Texas and some concentration in the Southeast, so we are diversifying our portfolio,” he says. “We’re buying at incredible cap rates and these buildings have great cash flow. Of all the gateway markets, Chicago presents the best opportunities in terms of pricing and rent growth.”
Beacon recently purchased the 20 N. Clark office tower in downtown Chicago from Itasca, IL-based Hamilton Partners, also the owner of Riverwalk II. Bentata points to the gentrification of the city’s downtown as a very hopeful sign that the office market will continue to thrive. Thousands of office workers have migrated into new residential towers, and furthermore, many former office towers have been converted into other uses such as hotels, putting a restraint on supply.
He sees similar qualities in Minneapolis, where Beacon recently purchased the 1.2-million-square-foot IDS Center, perhaps the region’s most notable office property. Six of that city’s major office towers traded hands in the past year, with a total of more than 3.4-million-square-feet, a pace not seen since before the recession.
In addition to the Riverwalk building, Beacon also recently bought the 210,774-square-foot Park Plaza building in suburban Naperville for about $24 million. Bentata says they are actively looking for other opportunities in both submarkets and remains unfazed by the suburbs’ overall high vacancy rate, which JLL recently tagged as 24.4%.
“A lot of people flee the suburbs,” he explains, “but we’ve always been a bit contrarian.” Perhaps more importantly, “there are parts of the suburban office market that are 90% occupied,” and class A assets in Lake County and the East-West Corridor remain very attractive to a wide range of users.
Bentata adds that the company has no plans to unload their new acquisitions. “We are a long-term holder, so as long as we see Chicago’s fundamentals improve we will continue to hold the assets. We are getting better returns and we expect to get better returns for a long time. We want to be a long-term player in Chicago.”