October 9, 2019
Among Chicago’s more prolific developers, Farpoint Development is leading the team selected to put up a massive mixed-use project on the site of the former Michael Reese Hospital in Bronzeville.
However, Farpoint’s portfolio also includes properties in the suburbs—and in fact principal Regina Stilp will be among the experts taking the stage to examine the “Urban vs. Suburban” spectrum at Connect Chicago Fall 2019, scheduled for Oct. 29. In advance of the event, Stilp shared some insights with Connect Media.
“Tenants are looking for a certain standard, whether it’s the city or the suburbs,” she said. “You have to deliver the amenities, whether it’s a fitness center or a roof deck.
“In the city, you can achieve $30 or $35 [per-square-foot] net rent, whereas in the suburbs you’re pushing $15 or $20,” she continued. “You’ve got to deliver the same deliverables and the same amenities, but you’re really stretching to get those rents.” That often entails a little creativity—and economizing—on the developer’s part.
Stilp waxed enthusiastic about the Michael Reese site, which has been substantially vacant since 2012. ”It’s a great opportunity, a mega-development, and you don’t have to go all-in on one aspect,” she said. “It’s mixed-use, and we’re in contract to purchase Prairie Shores, the five apartment towers to the west of the site. It’s on the lakefront, it’s next to McCormick Place, and it’s in an Opportunity Zone—we have started our own Opportunity Zone fund. So we’re coming at it from a number of different angles, and it just makes a lot of sense.”
There remain advantages to developing in the suburbs, and Farpoint has done a couple of projects recently in Rosemont and Northbrook. For one thing, there’s the political process compared to the time-honored aldermanic privilege that can stall projects in the city.
“In the suburbs, things can move more quickly because there are fewer steps you have to go through,” although that can depend on which suburb you’re in, said Stilp.
Connect Chicago Fall 2019 will take place Oct. 29 in Chicago. For more information, or to register, click here.
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