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Dr. Garate’s Interview with Crain’s Chicago Business

By RYAN ORI | Crain's Chicago Business

anixter-center

After pulling the plug on a deal to sell one of its two Clybourn Corridor buildings to a real estate developer, the nonprofit Anixter Center is now considering selling both of them and moving to new locations.

Anixter has hired Jones Lang LaSalle to find a buyer for its four-story, 27,000-square-foot building at 2001 N. Clybourn Ave., said Teresa Garate, president and CEO of the organization that provides services to people with disabilities.

Meanwhile, JLL is advising Anixter on its options for a larger building it owns across the street at 2032 N. Clybourn, including a potential sale, Garate said.

Anixter's move comes amid strong interest in properties in that stretch of the Clybourn retail district, in part because of developer Sterling Bay's plans for a major redevelopment of the site of the former A. Finkl & Sons steel plant and other nearby land just west of Anixter's buildings. Also nearby, Sterling Bay is building a new office building for logistics firm C.H. Robinson Worldwide.

Related:
• New City developer tees up two more Clybourn Corridor projects
• A billion-dollar makeover for Finkl steel site?
• Lease propels developer's plans for Lincoln Park project

Anixter's buildings could be renovated and filled with new office tenants.

“The views to downtown are spectacular,” Tom Kirschbraun, a JLL managing director, said of 2001 N. Clybourn. “I think it will do really well as a creative office play. It's a proven office location.”

Garate and Kirschbraun declined to provide an expected sale price.

Chicago-based Shapack Partners last year paid $10.6 million, or about $118 per square foot, for a nearby building that it plans to convert to loft offices. At a similar price per square foot, Anixter's buildings would be worth about $18.5 million combined.

Anixter previously had a deal to sell the four-story, 130,000-square-foot building at 2032 N. Clybourn to Chicago-based Structured Development.

“We decided to let that agreement expire and start the process over because I didn't feel like it was in the best interests of Anixter Center,” Garate said.

Under the previous arrangement with Structured, the developer would have acquired or built a new facility for the nonprofit to replace the Clybourn space.

Structured looked into moving Anixter to the former Combined Insurance office building at 5050 N. Broadway in Uptown, said Structured Principal Mike Drew. Instead, Chicago developerCedar Street acquired the Broadway property and plans to convert it to apartments and retail space.

Garate assumed leadership of Anixter Center in June 2015, after the deal was struck with Structured. She said the group would now rather lease space for offices and services to clients in multiple new locations.

“We need to think about how we can expand into other areas,” Garate said. “We need capital and resources to be able to do that, and liquidating this building (at 2001 N. Clybourn) will help us do that.”

JLL has already begun helping the nonprofit find new locations for its National Lekotek Center and Chicago Hearing Society divisions and its 40 office workers, all of which are currently based at 2001 N. Clybourn, Garate said. Anixter has been in the building since 1995.

Selling 2032 N. Clybourn is “quite possible,” Garate said, although that building is not formally on the market, as Anixter evaluates its options.

Anixter would like to expand locations for mental health and substance abuse treatment as well as for housing for people with disabilities, Garate said. It serves about 8,000 people annually and has more than 400 employees, she said.