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CHICAGO-Cape Horn Group has sold 35,000 sf of office for nearly $10 million at its 414,000-sf LaSalle Wacker office building, at 221. N. LaSalle. In this transaction, the first wave of sales for the 41-story Central Loop building being converted into office condos, space was acquired by eight companies, including five law firms, for $230 to $300 per sf.

The owner of the riverfront property was represented by Russ Cora, Larry Cohn and Juan DeAngulo.”Sales have been good, but of course, anyone would say they’d love see them sell faster,” DeAngulo tells GlobeSt.com. “There’s a general wait-and-see attitude with the election coming up, but we’ve had great activity obviously the last three to four weeks. We expect a lot of decisions toward the end of this year, and early next year.”

The building was purchased in 2006 by an affiliate of Cape Horn, and the company put the building space on the market in February. The building’s occupancy rate is higher than 82%, and remains a mix of office suites and leased space awaiting conversion, according to DeAngulo. “From an ownership standpoint, you’re on Wacker Drive and owning a piece of history that has been part of the skyline for decades,” DeAngulo says. “The building has many amenities and a great tenant community.” DeAngulo says the building also offers proximity to public transportation, just minutes from Union Station, and to the courts, which has proven especially attractive for the numerous law firms that have chosen to locate there.

Investor Pearl Properties purchased 14,433 sf on the building’s first floor. Five law firms also acquired space in the building: Parente and Norem bought 4,484 sf to occupy the building’s entire 27th floor, Samuel V. P. Banks purchased 4,043 sf on the 38th floor, Dwyer & McDevitt Ltd. bought 2,958 sf on the 16th floor, Dinizulu Law Group 2,024 sf on the 11th floor, and Zhang & Associates 1,521 sf on the 12th floor. Two tenants previously leasing in the building bought their space. Digital imaging firm ImageFiction, of Chicago, purchased the 1,867 sf it has been occupying on the 15th floor. Retail technology and payment specialist W. Capra Consulting purchased its 3,871 sf on the 13th floor.

The art deco building offers waterfront and skyline views, and has had recent remodeling, including upgraded elevators, a touch-screen lobby directory, a building concierge, extended fitness center hours, and car washing in the building’s parking garage. DeAngulo says purchasing rather than renting office presents a solid investment for any company. “They build equity, and they have a lot of pride in knowing they own their own space,” DeAngulo says. “They secure a location for their future, they never have to be at the whim of the ups and downs of a leasing market and their mortgage payment doesn’t change. The recent changes in the economy highlight and only enhance the benefits of having money in a hard asset like commercial real estate, which is protected from the effects of an economy.”

DeAngulo says the building’s location within the Central Loop submarket has strengthened sales. “It’s probably the strongest submarket downtown,” DeAngulo says. “You’re seeing a lot of people leaving other submarkets and coming to the Central Loop because of the river and the restaurants and the transportation.”

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