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CHICAGO-In order to meet unfilled demand from its recently completed Dearborn Plaza high-tech office building in River North, Alter Group executives say they plan to begin developing a 28,000-sf parcel just two blocks away at Clark and Illinois streets as early as 2001. Seperately, sources say that Alter Group will soon be making a major investment in a big, high-tech development initiative in conjunction with other developers and various financial interests.

“There is a lot of unfilled demand from Dearborn Plaza that we’d like to meet,” says Matt Ward, vice president at Alter Group, which is based here. “We own a 28,000-sf parcel just two blocks away at Illinois and Clark. We are going to duplicate the type of facility we built at Dearborn Plaza at the site, probably in 2001.” While the proposed-development is still in the very earliest planning stages, Ward estimates that the new building will be 17-stories and cost anywhere from $80 million to $100 million to build.

Ward refused to comment on growing speculation that Alter Group will be joining a partnership of developers and financial interests in a major high-tech development initiative. Sources say, however, that Alter Group’s participation in the partnership will represent a major investment on the developer’s part.

Ward says the new building at Illinois and Clark will have the latest high-tech amenities, as does the recently completed Dearborn Plaza. Located at Dearborn and Kinzie Streets, Dearborn Plaza, which is 93% leased just 30 days after completion, has the very latest in broadband and other connections, a 12-KVA electrical riser that allows for virtually unlimited power expansion and a generator farm to allow tenants to install backup power systems.

“This type of development has been predominant in the West Loop because there was this notion that you had to be near the trains that come in from the suburbs,” says Ward. “We proved this notion wrong with Dearborn Plaza”. The high-tech clients that Dearborn Plaza attracted include Braun Consulting and NEXTLINK Communications. Ward pointed out that suburban train connections aren’t important to the mostly young employees of these types of companies, who tend to live in trendy North Side Chicago neighborhoods like Wicker Park and Bucktown.

Argent Group, which will soon be breaking ground at the Clybourn Tech Center at 1840 N. Clybourn, last month told GlobeSt.com that it is this same tenant base that Argent hopes to attract to Clybourn Tech Center. While the success of Dearborn Plaza bodes well for developments like Argent’s, Clybourn Tech Center does not have the stone’s throw proximity to the Loop that Dearborn Plaza has.

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