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CHICAGO-The Alter Group recently started construction on a 227,604-sf office building at 111 W. Illinois St., estimated to cost $90 million. Several projects are also planned across the country, including Corridors 4 locally in Downers Grove and two industrial buildings in Mount Prospect.

The nonprofit Erickson Institute, a graduate school for child development professionals, will anchor the 10-story 111 W. Illinois St. in the River North neighborhood. The school has agreed to buy three floors, about 75,000 sf, as an office condominium. No other leases have been signed at the property. “Up until, now it has really been getting this Erickson deal done and getting the building off and running,” Alter Group president Michael Alter says. “In the next 30 to 60 days, we will be focusing more on trying to get it leased up.”

The majority of the rest of the building could be filled possibly by a hotel with retail, such as a restaurant, on the ground floor. “The hotel is a good use for the building. It is not the only use. It could be office or hotel,” says Matthew Ward, senior vice president for the Alter Group. “We are talking to several hotels right now but we do not have anything signed up.”

The average lease rate will “probably be in the low to mid $20s” per sf, Ward tells GlobeSt.com

Completion of the building, designed by Martin Wolf, senior principal with Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates, is expected in early 2008. Cushman & Wakefield of Illinois Inc. is the marketing agent and McHugh Construction Co. is the general contractor for the project.

The Alter Group has several other projects in the works. “We are expecting to be pretty active this year,” Alter says. The firm is working on industrial office and medical office projects. “We are also beginning some speculative office stuff [in Northern Virginia and Phoenix], which we have not done in awhile,” he says. “The office market the last few years just really has not supported doing spec buildings,” Alter tells GlobeSt.com. However, he says demand and lease rates have increased.

In Downers Grove, the Alter Group is planning Corridors 4 on Finley Road, Ward says. Two seven-story buildings, with a total 441,500 sf, have been designed by Helmut Jahn and are expected to be LEED certified by the US Green Building Council, Alter says. The firm has not decided on a date yet for the groundbreaking, and an estimated completion date was not available.

On May 1, the Alter Group expects to break ground on two industrial buildings in Mount Prospect. The industrial spec buildings, which will be 147,813 sf and 108,613 sf, are “intended for the O’Hare air freight business,” says Patrick Gallagher, senior vice president for the Alter Group. The buildings, which will be on Wall Street at the Lake Center Corporate Park, should be complete by the January 2008, he says.

Gallagher expects the Mount Prospect buildings to be the beginning of more industrial projects in the Chicagoland area. The buildings are the “first time that we have done some new industrial [buildings] in Chicago in quite a while. We have been pretty active nationally but we just have not had a lot of industrial in our hometown,” Gallagher tells GlobeSt.com.

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