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CHICAGO-Brokers may get a bigger share of business from City Hall after Jones Lang LaSalle’s shopping a two-acre site at the southwest corner of Madison and Des Plaines streets in the West Loop. Department of planning and development project manager Nori Bleiman says a field of nine developers will be whittled down to a short list before a decision is made on who will acquire the site between Presidential Towers and the Kennedy Expressway.

Before hiring Jones Lang LaSalle to find a developer for a mixed-use project on what is now a parking lot, the city used its request for proposals process for the site. The result in 2001 was two offers, Bleiman reports: a $16-million offer from Fifield Cos. that called for twice that amount in tax increment financing assistance and a $15.1-million offer from Madison Park Commons, LLC.

The city made it clear no TIF assistance would be provided, no Fifield’s offer was nixed, Bleiman says. Although Madison Park Commons met the city’s target price, the developers had no commercial tenants or operator lined up for its office and hotel development. And while the developers are experienced parking garage operators, it was their first foray outside that sector.

Besides the process, the market has changed since 2001, Bleiman concedes. “It was tricky in 2001 when we issued the RFP,” she tells the community development commission Tuesday. “It was a sluggish market. But we’re looking at a different approach now to selling this land.”

The department of planning and development’s industrial division has used brokers to sell city-owned parcels, particularly on the South Side, Bleiman says. However, Jones Lang LaSalle’s assignment marked the first time brokers were used to market property Downtown, she adds.

The community development commission officially rejected Fifield’s and Madison Park Commons’ offers, a move necessary to proceed with the nine letters of intent.

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