15-story office tower planned in River North aims for post-pandemic appeal

Following an agreement with a tenant, a developer intends to start construction on the second of three planned buildings.

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A rendering of the new tower planned at 311 W. Huron St.

A rendering of the new tower planned at 311 W. Huron St.

NORR

With a sizable tenant committing to the space, a development firm plans to start constructing an office building in River North, a neighborhood it sees as an alternative to the burgeoning Fulton Market.

River North has few sites left to develop, yet companies there want options for new space when they grow, said Tony Lindsay, principal at North Wells Capital. The firm has been a landlord in the area for 40 years.

He said North Wells this spring will start on a 15-story, 154,000-square-foot office building at 311 W. Huron St. Spins, a data provider for the wellness and natural products industries, has agreed to lease nearly 48,000 square feet there and will get signs atop the buildings, said Cushman & Wakefield, a real-estate brokerage involved in the deal.

Spins, which has more than 400 U.S.-based employees, is moving its headquarters from 222 W. Hubbard St., also owned by North Wells.

Lindsay said after looking around, Spins decided to stay close by. “River North was the first live-work-play submarket in Chicago,” he said, drawing a contrast with Fulton Market. “There’s a tremendous balance to what’s here, with residential and commercial offices. We have everything from your Subways to white-tablecloth restaurants.”

He said he hopes to start work in April and finish the building by August 2023. With a design by the NORR architecture firm, it would be the second part of what he sees as a three-phase office complex marketed under the name Verso.

The first was a smaller building at 306 W. Erie St. that Lindsay said is 100% leased. The last phase would be at 320 W. Huron St., where Lindsay said he’d like to see at least 260,000 square feet. Details have yet to be cleared with city officials. Both the 311 and 320 W. Huron sites are currently parking lots.

In keeping with a focus on tenant amenities designed for post-pandemic sensibilities, the 311 W. Huron building will get a fitness center, a penthouse roof deck, private outdoor terraces on alternating floors and other features. The building will have electric-vehicle charging stations and 130 indoor parking spaces.

Tony Olson, CEO of Spins, said in a news release the company is seeing tremendous growth and needs “space that we could design to enhance our collaborative culture in a hybrid work environment.” He said River North remained attractive for its “dynamic companies and having innovative food and services that support our team.”

Cushman & Wakefield represented Spins in the lease negotiations, while Jones Lang LaSalle represented North Wells.

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