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CHICAGO-When Parkway Properties, Inc. went shopping for its first acquisition in this market, it ended up taking two years for the Jackson, MS-based REIT to land 233 N. Michigan Ave. Parkway bought the 30-story, 1.07-million-sf building, more commonly known as Two Illinois Center, from Tishman-Speyer for $175 million after its $130-million bid for 111 E. Wacker Dr., a very similar building in the mixed-use Illinois Center development, proved insufficient.

The difference, Parkway officials say, was in verifiable net operating income–$16.7 million at the recently-renovated building that is 88% occupied, compared to $13.5 million for the building reportedly being eyed by Phoenix-based Pivotal Group Inc. for at least $145 million.

The bottom line: Parkway closed on Two Illinois Center earlier this month at a 9.5% initial capitalization rate, bolstered by the seller’s guaranteeing the three remaining years on the lease of the top four floors vacated by Internet consultant MarchFirst. If a published report about 111 E. Wacker Dr. proves true, Pivotal Group’s debut in the Downtown office market will be at a 9% to 9.3% initial capitalization rate. Both buildings went up in the early 1970s.

If square footage is the only yardstick used, Parkway did well, considering US Equities Realty, Inc. research shows Shorenstein Co., LP paid $183 per sf last year for two buildings in the shadow of Illinois Center: $192 million for 130 E. Randolph St. and $172 million for 180 N. Stetson Ave. And TrizecHahn paid $206 per sf in its $76.7-million purchase of 550 W. Washington St. earlier this year.

There’s no denying Pivotal would be obtaining an office tower along the Chicago River for about $150 per sf, less than the $164 per sf Parkway paid for an East Loop property. On a square footage basis, Boston-based Intercontinental Real Estate Corp. appears to have gotten the best buy so far this summer by paying $140 per sf to GE Capital and Hines Interests LP for 29 N. Wacker Dr. in the West Loop, a much hotter submarket as tenants continue to be magnetized by the two major Metra commuter stations.

Other recent sales, however, involved 29-story 200 W. Jackson Blvd., which sold at $84 per sf, and 200 W. Madison St., which traded at $35 per sf, which matched last year’s low paid by Dantis for 612 S. Clinton St. for telecom space.

At the other end of the spectrum, Parkway’s purchase on a square-footage basis is dwarfed by the following 2000 deals, according to US Equities Realty, in addition to Shorenstein Co.’s two buys:

* 35 W. Wacker Dr. for $265 million, or $241 per sf, to HypoVereinsbank.

* 150 N. Michigan Ave. for $117.8 million, or $190 per sf, to BFG ImmoInvest.

* 333 W. Wacker Dr. for $144.7 million, or $175 per sf, to Lend Lease Real Estate Investments and the John Buck Co.

While 333 W. Wacker Dr. is a West Loop property, the other two buildings are in the East Loop.

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