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SKOKIE, IL-Forest City Enterprises, based in Cleveland, has completed the redevelopment of one of four existing buildings at the Illinois Science + Technology Park and recently added a courtyard to the park. The estimated cost for the park, when completed, will be at least $300 million, with a total of two million sf of research, development, laboratory and office space on 23 acres, says Tom Prescott, SVP and head of development for the project.

The first phase of the project is the redevelopment of four existing buildings at the former Pfizer and Searle facility, says Scott Brandwein, senior vice president of CB Richard Ellis, which is handling the leasing for the park. Forest City demolished several buildings and left four buildings with a total of 660,000 sf. Renovations were just completed on a lobby and common areas for a 130,000-sf building at 8025 Lamon Ave. Five different lab-related companies are leasing approximately half of the building, Prescott says. A 230,000-sf building at 4901 Searle Pkwy. had previously been renovated with 150,000 sf of the building leased and a 163,000-sf building at 8045 Lamon Ave. “is actually in near pristine condition with little renovation work needed,” Prescott says. A fourth building is a 150,000-sf vivarium, an animal sciences building, which will be redeveloped. Forest City plans to work with a tenant in redeveloping the specialized facility, so there is not an estimate for when work will begin, he says.

The three buildings, besides the vivarium, are currently “slightly more than 50%” leased with seven tenants, Prescott says. Tenants include national trade association Nano Business Alliance, Astellas, Thermo Fisher, Polyera, Nanotope, Midwest Bio Research and Evanston Northwestern Health Care. “There are a number of tenants that are expanding or are planning to expand,” Brandwein says. The lease rate varies from $14 per sf, net for office space up to $40 per sf, net for more specified laboratory space, Prescott tells GlobeSt.com.

Courtyards were recently added where some of the buildings had been demolished. Forest City wants to transform the area into a park-like environment where different companies can collaborate and the public can also visit, Prescott says plans for the science and technology park include five additional buildings. “We have a couple of proposals out for build to suits,” Prescott says. The company recently began drawing up conceptual designs for a 200,000-sf office and laboratory building. Forest City would pre-lease a portion of the building before starting construction, he says.

Forest City acquired the property from Pfizer Inc. in 2005 for $43 million, as reported by GlobeSt.com. Forest City has constructed other science and technology parks in Boston and Philadelphia. “Typically, the parks we do are in close proximity or adjacent to a neighboring university,” Prescott says. The Skokie park is unique in that it is not directly located near a university, although it is near Northwestern University in Evanston. However, the opportunity presented itself with Pfizer selling the property and the infrastructure was already in place, he says. “There is really a need in the Chicago area for this kind of space,” Prescott says. The Chicago Research Park in the Illinois Medical District on the west side of Chicago and a research park at the Illinois Institute of Technology are the only other research parks in the Chicago area and the Illinois Science + Technology Park will be the largest of the three once it is completed, Brandwein says.

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