CHICAGO-More than two years after announcing its intention to redevelop the landmark Carson Pirie Scott Building, developer Joseph Freed & Associates is near concluding a deal for the architecturally important, turn-of-the-century structure.

“We will be issuing a press release in a couple of weeks detailing our plans,” says Jeff Renkert, director of marketing at suburban Wheeling-based Joseph Freed. Meanwhile, the city is close to reaching a deal with Joseph Freed on the sale of long-term ground leases the city acquired in its effort to help the redevelopment effort along. “The land was tied up in very long term leases owned by a variety of trusts,” says Pete Scales, spokesperson for the city’s Planning Commission. “We acquired them and are now close to a deal to sell them to Joseph Freed.”

Renkert said that since the original plan for redevelopment was put forward over two years ago, there could be significant changes in the upcoming plan. There certainly has been a sea change in the Downtown development environment since the original plans were announced. Since then, the Loop has seen a residential development boom of unprecedented proportions as developers have rushed to convert underused class C buildings into condominiums. There are a half dozen such developments within walking distance of the Carson’s Building, located at One South State.

Earlier published reports detailed plans for Joseph Freed to acquire the building for $36 million in a long-term sale-leaseback agreement with the retailer. Since those published reports, State Street’s retail revival has blossomed with national retailers like Old Navy and Border’s opening large stores.

Published reports had Joseph Freed converting the top 15 floors or so of the adjacent Mentor Building, part of the Carson’s complex, into residential use. That residential part of the plan may have been expanded given the keen demand for residential space Downtown. Carson’s reluctance to make a large investment in the building may also have waned given the new State Street development environment, which may reduce the amount of TIF financing needed for the project.

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