CHICAGO-Behringer Harvard, based in Dallas, is acquiring a four-building, 3.2-million-sf office portfolio here from affiliates of Boston-based Beacon Capital Partners. The two have entered into an agreement for the portfolio but the sale has not closed yet. A price was not disclosed but was reportedly approximately $850 million. The acquisition is for Behringer Harvard REIT I Inc.

The buildings in the portfolio include the 39-story One Financial Place at 440 S. LaSalle St. with one million sf of rentable space; the twin 21-story buildings with a total of nearly 1.4 million sf of space at 10 S. Riverside Plaza and 120 S. Riverside Plaza; and 200 S. Wacker Dr., a 40-story office tower with 750,000 sf of rentable space. Behringer was interested in the portfolio because of the “proximity to mass transit and excellent West Loop and Central Loop locations,” says Jason Mattox, executive vice president with Behringer. “Really, these are irreplaceable locations in what we consider to be an excellent long-term market.”

The building at 200 S. Wacker Dr. is across the Chicago River from 222 S. Riverside and the adjoining building at 444 W. Jackson Blvd., which the REIT acquired for approximately $277.5 million from an affiliate of Beacon last year. The building on Wacker Drive is in the process of being renovated, which Behringer will continue with, Mattox says. The interior renovations include work on the lobby, elevators, the corridors and “potentially some adjustments to the restaurant and other deli amenities,” he says.

All of the properties have occupancy rates in excess of 90% except for 200 S. Wacker, which has an occupancy rate of approximately 80%, Mattox tells Some of the major tenants include Goldman Sachs, Chicago Stock Exchange, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, CDW Corp., Zurich American, Boston Consulting Group, and the University of Illinois. Mattox could not provide an average asking lease rate since the rates vary depending on the location and floors.

The acquisition of the portfolio brings the real estate investment trust’s holdings in Chicago to 4.4 million sf. The portfolio acquisition gives Behringer a critical mass of class A property in the CBD, Mattox says. “We will have a significant presence there in the West Loop so there should be management synergies as well as it is a very nice portion of the overall portfolio,” he says. The REIT owns 37 other properties in 16 states and Washington, DC. Behringer began acquiring Chicago properties for the REIT last year “as part of what we consider to be proper diversification,” Mattox says.The acquisition comes on the heels of Behringer Harvard’s $1.4-billion play for Toronto-based IPC REIT. The deal will give Behringer Harvard 35 office buildings in the US, as reported earlier.

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