CHICAGO-Canadian developer TrizecHahn is negotiating to make a substantial investment in the proposed Clybourn Tech Center, according to Argent Group executives. Argent is hoping to co-develop the $70 million high-tech redevelopment of the Artmark Building at 1840 N. Clybourn.

“We are optimistic that a deal will be reached,” says Mark Matthews, principal at locally based Argent Group. “There appears to be a congruence of interests between the parties.” Matthews would not comment on speculation that TrizecHahn might be taking up to a half interest in the proposal.

There has been a delay in getting the necessary TIF financing for the Clybourn Tech Center, according to Matthews. In an interview with last month, Matthews said that he anticipated having between $10 million and $12 million in TIF financing in place by now. Matthews is now saying that he doesn’t expect to have TIF financing in place for at least another 60 days. Matthews also said at that time that he expected work to begin this week or next on the project. Matthews said Friday that Argent, which wants to redevelop the Artmark Building in partnership with the technology subsidiary of area landowner Finkel Steel, has yet to close on the purchase of the Artmark Building.

If TrizecHahn goes ahead with the investment in Clybourn Tech Center, it would be among the first investments made by the Canadian developer following the firm’s decision to recycle $1 billion of properties in order to target investment in booming telecom hotel development. Evan Borris, an executive here with TrizecHahn, refused to comment on the negotiations with Argent Group.

The plan for Clybourn Tech Center is for a total of 380,000-sf of leaseable space, 200,000-sf of which is supposed to be reserved for telecom hotel use. The rest of the space will be targeted at high-tech office use and some retail. Matthews said in September that Argent had signed a national bookseller and a national restaurant to the retail space.

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