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CHICAGO-Development Resources Inc., based here, is planning an 865,000-sf office tower for 401 S. Wacker Dr. The estimated cost to build the 31-story tower is about $325 million, says Brett Opie, executive vice president with the developer.

The building will have an all glass facade with a cantilever on one side of the tower. The building is “almost transparent,” Opie says. “We are trying to create a great pedestrian experience.” The cantilever will create a space of about 2,000 sf on each floor that will have glass on three sides of the space, Opie says. The cantilever space will be over an approximate 500-sf park area and the space will likely be used for partners’ offices, conference rooms or meeting space. The building will have 30,000-sf floor plates with four interior columns with a lobby with some portions up to 55 feet high, he says.

The company has not started leasing for the building yet. The asking lease rate will be in the “low $30′s” per sf net, Opie says. The building will be almost exclusively office space with about 2,500 sf of service retail such as a coffee shop, sundry store and a sandwich shop. Construction will start on the tower once it is about 30% to 40% preleased, with construction expected to take about two years to complete, he says.

Development Resources had planned in 2004 to build a 27-story, 673,000-sf building. The previous plans called for some pre-cast concrete and would have cost approximately slightly more than $200 million, he says. The change in design “was really listening to the market,” Opie says. The original building was geared to insurance company and “back office” tenants whereas the new design is geared toward large law firms and other professional firms. Architecture firm OWP&P designed both tower plans.The company acquired the property about five years ago for an office building “because it is a great Wacker Drive location,” he says. “It is the beginning of Wacker Drive” and the location is “highly visible” from Congress Parkway, Opie says.

The property is zoned for up to 950,000 sf, but Opie said they cannot see constructing a building that large on the site. “We think this is the right building for the site,” he says. “We do not see the demand for a one-million-sf building for the market.” In a building of 865,000 sf, an anchor tenant is “clearly the anchor” as opposed to a one-million-sf building where you could have three or four anchor tenants of 200,000 sf apiece, Opie says.

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