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SKOKIE, IL-Evanston Northwestern Healthcare is expanding by 24,218 sf at 4901 Searle Parkway at the Illinois Science + Technology Park. The term of the office lease is concurrent with its 15-year lease, which began in December 2006, says Tom Prescott, SVP with Forest City Enterprises and head of development for the project. His firm, based in Cleveland, is developing the park. The cost to renovate four existing buildings is approximately $200 million. Forest City plans to construct an additional 1.3 million sf to 1.4 million sf, which would cost an additional $300 million to $400 million, Prescott tells GlobeSt.com.

Evanston Northwestern Healthcare (ENH) was the first tenant in the park and is now the largest tenant, leasing more than 154,000 sf. ENH has already moved into a training room with approximately 6,000 sf and is expected to move into the rest of the space in March, Prescott says. The majority of the expanded space will be used for call center operations, he says. The building at 4901 Searle Parkway is now about 80% leased with ENH occupying about 75%. Forest City is the other occupant, he says.

Forest City acquired the property from Pfizer Inc. in 2005 for $43 million, as reported by GlobeSt.com. The first phase of the project is the redevelopment of four existing buildings at the former Pfizer and Searle facility. Three of the facilities have been renovated and have a total of about 515,000 sf. The three buildings are slightly more than 50% leased, Prescott says. Other tenants include Midwest BioResearch, Astellas, Thermo Fisher Scientific, NanoInk, Nanotope, Polyera and NanoBusiness Alliance. The asking lease rate ranges from $14 per sf net for office space up to $40 per sf net for more specified laboratory space. A fourth building is a 150,000-sf vivarium, an animal sciences building, that will be redeveloped. “We have been talking to a few large companies who specialize in animal sciences to actually partner with one of them, and who would take over most, if not all, of the building,” he says.

Forest City is in discussion with all of the park’s tenants in regards to expanding, Prescott says. “We cater to companies who are really working on new technology, research and project development; in particular, nanotechnology companies,” he says. “Those companies are fairly-high-growth companies.” Five additional buildings are planned for the site. Construction on the first building, which would be 200,000 sf, could start as early as this fall, depending on the market.

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