CHICAGO – Real estate investors in Chicago’s north and northwestern suburbsare showing a renewed enthusiasm for Class A office properties as investmentvehicles in the third quarter of 2000, according to a study released by theChristie Group, which is associated with the Chicago office of Marcus &Millichap.

Class A office transactions were relatively scarce in the first half of theyear in Lake County, IL, and the north and northwest suburban areas of CookCounty, IL, with a total of 367,800 sf in four office property changinghands. However, in the third quarter, there were six Class A transactionstotaling 537,400 sf. According to the report, the average sale price psf forClass A space in the area rose from $121 during the first half of the yearto $149.80 for transactions in the third quarter.

By contrast, sales of Class B and C properties, dipped markedly in the thirdquarter. During the first six months of 2000, 24 such properties werereported sold, involving 1.18 million sf. Third-quarter sales in thiscategory totaled only two transactions totaling 32,400 sf.

“Investors are taking a more cautious approach to B and C properties becausethey perceive that the combined impact of new office construction and asoftening economy could hurt occupancy rates,” says Michael J. Christie,managing partner of the Christie Group. “We’re also seeing lenders offermore restrictive terms when they’re asked to finance the acquisition of Band C space.”

Technically, the average sales price of B and C properties in the area rosein the third quarter, $61.95 psf as compared with $25.86 psf for the firsthalf of the year, but the disparity in the volume of transactions in the twotime periods makes them hard to compare in a meaningful way.

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