- December 1, 2015: Vol. 27, Number 11

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What’s the deal with Chicago?

by Loretta Clodfelter

The perennial Second City seems destined for second-place — or worse — as it is eclipsed by property markets on the coasts. While the city’s office market is the second-largest in the country, Chicago’s office market plays second-fiddle to New York City on most any measure.

According to Colliers International’s third-quarter office metro snapshot, Chicago has an office vacancy rate of 14.1 percent — 440 basis points higher than Manhattan’s 9.7 percent. And, according to Colliers, average office rents in Chicago are $28.92 per square foot — less than half the $70.25 per square foot in Manhattan. In the first three quarters of 2015, some $6.3 billion in office properties changed hands in Chicago, according to Real Capital Analytics, which is approximately one-third the $19.4 billion in sales volume of Manhattan’s office market.

Chicago cannot even lay claim anymore to the tallest building in the United States. Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears T

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