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CHICAGO-Inland Real Estate Auctions Inc. will auction off 326 N. Michigan Ave. on behalf of seller Loukas Development. The site, which Inland touts as a prime location for high-rise development, is just two blocks from Millennium Park and currently houses a 20,000-square-foot, three-story Mather building.

The winner of the property in the sealed bid auction will also receive rights to any redevelopment of the site, which Inland says could involve retail, office, residential, hospitality or entertainment uses and could be valued at as much as $93 million.

The site has been characterized by Inland as the first developable parcel to become available on Michigan Avenue in years. “The whole dynamic in that area has changed since Millennium Park opened,” says Paul Rogers, SVP and managing broker of Inland, in a release. “New condominium developments nearby are drawing a residential component to the area that just wasn’t there before.”

The property sees about 16,000 pedestrians and 37,000 vehicles passing each day. “This activity spurs the need for goods and services including more retail, dining, entertainment and even more residential,” Rogers says. “The possibilities for the site are endless, and the auction presents retailers, investors and developers who never thought they could buy on North Michigan Avenue with a real once in a generation opportunity.”

Loukas was interested in auctioning the property because of the speed involved in the process. “Interest in the property is evident without any marketing and the sellers sought the auction process because it will bring that interest to a rapid and defining conclusion,” Rogers says. “It’s highly unusual for a building on this part of Michigan Avenue to be sold conventionally, let alone at auction. Increasingly, the owners of even high-profile properties are turning to auctions as a way to realize immediate value in a volatile market.”

The property is located in the East Loop submarket, where asking lease rates for Class A office space are around $37 per square foot gross, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s year-end market report. Occupancy rates for office in the submarket are around 88%.

This site is the second property with significant development potential to hit the market in recent weeks in Chicago. As GlobeSt.com reported last week, Van Buren Financial LLC has plans to sell 1035 W. Van Buren for $11 million. The 32,000-square-foot site has zoning and entitlements for a 23-story, 325-unit multifamily development with parking and retail. The total estimated cost of the development, including land and hard and soft costs, is around $81 million.

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