Children’s taps U.S. Equities to sell Lincoln Park site

By Bruce Japsen
Posted Sep. 20, 2010 at 11:57 a.m.

Children’s Memorial Hospital has hired Chicago-based commercial real estate firm U.S. Equities Realty to market the land and building at its current tony Lincoln Park location.

Calling it “one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the Midwest,” hospital officials are hoping the prime six-acre real estate site will fetch a large sum.

Hospital officials would not disclose or speculate on what the sale of the property may raise but it is certainly worth tens of millions of dollars even in the current down market for real estate, say Chicago real estate observers.

Children’s is scheduled to relocate to a new $915 million hospital in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood east of Michigan Avenue in 2012. While the hospital has raised $500 million of its $600 million philanthropic goal toward the new hospital’s construction, it still needs the real estate sale to help finance the balance of the project.

Children’s would not break down its exact financing plan for the hospital which officials say they are working on. But more than $300 million is needed because philanthropy target is not designed to cover the entire cost of the new hospital being built downtown.

Children’s said the goal is to close on the sale of the properites, which include eight buildings near the intersection of Fullerton Parkway and Lincoln Avenue, in June 2012 when the new  Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago opens.

“The proceeds from the sale of the property are very important to our mission,” said Nahlah Daddino, director of community relations for Children’s Memorial. “The sale of our Lincoln Park properties plays a critical role in the resources that Children’s Memorial needs for the new hospital and the children for whom the hospital cares. Our goal is to maximize the proceeds in a way that is consistent with the site development goals of the community and the city.”

City development officials been working with Children’s for years to prepare to market the property as a mixed-use one, to “respect the existing neighborhood.” It is unlikely to remain a property used for health care purposes. One likely suitor is expected to be nearby DePaul University, which has expressed interest in expanding to the site in the past and would fit the demands of the neighbors and city officials for any future development.

The property includes the main hospital, which sits on 3.5 acres at the corner of Fullerton and Lincoln; an an eight-story office building at 700 West Fullerton Parkway; an 850-space parking garage on Lincoln Avenue; and five other properties on the east and west sides of the 2300 block of North Lincoln Avenue.

“Because of the size of the properties and their location at the center of one of the most vibrant and eclectic neighborhoods in the City of Chicago, we believe this is a very rare and attractive development opportunity for a sophisticated and creative development team that will attract national attention,” said Marty Stern, executive vice president and managing director of U.S. Equities Realty.  “The successful developer will be well-positioned to take advantage of a recovering market, in a high demand neighborhood, with little other new space with which to compete when the project is ready for delivery in 2014 or 2015.”

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