Chicago Tower Is Planned in Biggest Project in Five Years

Hines, an international property investor, and the real estate arm of Canada’s biggest pension-fund manager plan to build a $300 million office tower in Chicago, the largest new project in the city in five years.

The proposed 45-story building, known as River Point, will be constructed downtown on the western bank of the Chicago River at Lake Street, Ivanhoe Cambridge, the Montreal-based real estate operation of Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, and Houston-based Hines said today in a statement. The project will have 900,000 square feet (84,000 square meters) of space and is scheduled for completion in 2016, the companies said.

River Point, which doesn’t have any tenants signed, will be Chicago’s biggest real estate project started in the past five years, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in the statement. Demand for downtown office space is rising as the local economy recovers. The office vacancy rate fell to 15.1 percent in the first quarter from 16.4 percent a year earlier, brokerage Cushman & Wakefield Inc. said.

“There’s a little more optimism about the downtown area over the last year,” James Kutill, a vice president of Chicago-based Appraisal Research Counselors, said in a telephone interview. “Definitely more than the suburban markets.”

Construction is slated to begin this year, and several corporations have expressed interest in leasing space at the tower, according to the statement.

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