Chicago’s Biggest Office Project Since 2008 Gets Tenant

The law firm McDermott Will & Emery LLP agreed to be the anchor tenant for a 45-story office tower that Hines and the real estate arm of Canada’s biggest pension-fund manager are building in Chicago.

McDermott, with offices in 19 cities globally, will lease 225,000 square feet (20,900 square meters) in the planned skyscraper, known as River Point, the law firm said today in an e-mailed statement. The developers broke ground this week for the building, which will be the city’s first such project since the 2008 financial crisis, according to the statement.

“We received a very attractive package from the developer,” Jeffrey Stone, co-chairman of the law firm, said in a telephone interview. “We’re catching the market in a good place at a good time.”

Demand for office space in the nation’s third-largest city is climbing. Chicago’s office-vacancy rate was 18.7 percent in the fourth quarter, down from a high of 19.1 percent in the first quarter of 2011, according to Reis Inc., a New York-based real estate research firm.

McDermott’s lease at 227 W. Monroe St. downtown expires in 2017, Stone said. The firm plans to move to River Point, which is being built on the western bank of the Chicago River at Lake Street, in late 2016 or early 2017, he said. He declined to disclose terms of the agreement.

Hines, an international property investor based in Houston, and Ivanhoe Cambridge, the Montreal-based real estate operation of Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, agreed in May to develop the skyscraper with no tenants signed.

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