CHICAGO—The financial services company Wolverine TradingLLC has just extended its lease agreement at 175 W.Jackson Blvd., totaling 87,978-square-feet, and the deal couldillustrate a more concentrated effort by many CBD landlords tobuild up their properties' values.

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“In the last 18 months, we've seen one ofthe most active sales cycles ever,” Robert Sevim,executive managing director of Savills Studley,tells GlobeSt.com. He co-brokered the transaction withDavid Stein of Steinco Inc., bothrepresenting Wolverine. Sean Murphy ofJMIC Corp. represented the landlord. “And becauseit's such a frothy market, we're seeing a lot of focus frombuilding owners on adding value.” And being accommodating to solidtenants, and making sure to lock them into long-term extensions, iscertainly part of the strategy, even if, as appears to be the caseat 175 W. Jackson, owners are not currently looking to sell.

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KBS REIT III recentlyacquired 500 W. Madison for about $425 million. And 300 N. LaSallejust sold for about $850 million, the highest price ever paid for aChicago office building.

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Although Sevim could not divulge anydetails about the new lease, he did call it “long-term,” and thatit “allows Wolverine both cost savings and the opportunity tomodify their existing conditions should the need arise in thefuture.”

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“No matter how we sliced it, moving wouldnot have proved a better solution,” he adds. Wolverine has been inthe building since the 1990s, occupying the second floor and partof the third, and in the end decided “why not take what we have andenhance it?”

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As a trading firm, Wolverine is heavilydependent on technology and infrastructure, and needs an owner withthe financial wherewithal to update a building if needed. This isthe first sizeable transaction for the building since it wasrefinanced in late 2013, according to Stein, but even before that,the building had a solid financial reputation.

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“Regarding it from that perspective, wecertainly have a high level of comfort,” Sevim says. “This is abuilding we are not concerned about.”

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Brian J. Rogal

Brian J. Rogal is a Chicago-based freelance writer with years of experience as an investigative reporter and editor, most notably at The Chicago Reporter, where he concentrated on housing issues. He also has written extensively on alternative energy and the payments card industry for national trade publications.