• Posted: July 30, 2016

    Ron Lunt Named Private Sector Co-Chair of Choose DuPage


    New co-chair brings over 44 years of real estate experience to Choose DuPage leadership

    Ron LuntChoose DuPage is pleased to announce Ron Lunt, partner at Hamilton Partners, has been named private sector co-chair of the Choose DuPage Economic Development Alliance, joining chairman of DuPage County Board and public-sector co-chair, Dan Cronin. Lunt will serve as elected private sector co-chair for a two-year term.


    Lunt moves into his new role as co-chair after having served on the board of directors for Choose DuPage for the last three and half years. In his position at Hamilton Partners, he is responsible for the development and acquisition activities of the firm. A founding partner, Lunt has been with the firm since 1987 and has seen the firm grow to become one of the largest privately held real estate development firms in the central U.S. with a total portfolio of over 25 million square feet. The firm manages office, industrial, rental properties and retail projects in Chicago, Salt Lake City, Denver, Milwaukee and Raleigh Durham. Headquartered in Itasca, Illinois, Hamilton Partners has ownership in over 10 million square feet of office and warehouse space in DuPage County and is a major stakeholder in the region. “Choose DuPage plays an integral role in the success and prosperity of DuPage County, bringing public and private leaders together to make a positive impact for our community.” said Lunt. “This is an exciting time for DuPage County and there is tremendous opportunity in the region.” “We are thrilled to have Ron take this leadership role for Choose DuPage,” said John Carpenter, president and CEO of Choose DuPage. “He is widely respected in the business community and has the vision and foresight to further expand DuPage County’s prosperous economy and thriving business community.” Lunt is committed to enhancing the economic development of DuPage County.  He has been directly involved in the development of more than 10 million square feet of office buildings, 8 million square feet of office acquisitions, and acquired over 1,000 acres of office space within the region. Ron Lunt also serves as the DuPage Development Council Treasurer, is an Industrial and Office Park Development Council Member of the Urban Land Institute, and holds a seat on the Elgin O'Hare Western Access (EOWA) Advisory Board. Lunt is a graduate of the University of Minnesota.

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  • Posted: July 27, 2016

    Spec Office Development Returns to Oak Brook


    Spec Office Building in Oak Brook


    The building at 2100 Swift will have a new look, and many significant changes, including a set of windows that will allow natural light to flood the space.

    The office market in Oak Brook took a big hit with the announcement by fast food giant McDonald’s that it planned to move its global headquarters into downtown Chicago. But some developers are still quite bullish on the prospects for luring tenants into new space in the west suburban town.


    Schaumburg-based REM Builders recently began a 60,000 SF speculative office redevelopment at 2100 Swift Rd. in Oak Brook that involves stripping the existing three story building down to the columns and completely rebuilding it to class A quality. CBRE has been retained to market the property, which REM plans to deliver in late 2016.


    “Oak Brook is probably the most mature part of the I-88 corridor,” Jeffrey Mann, senior vice president at CBRE, tells, with its multi-tenant buildings having an average age of about 38 years. But today’s tenants are most eager to occupy new office space that incorporates the latest thinking on interior design and how that impacts employees’ quality of life. “There is a real niche in this market for buildings that have a new, fresh feel and for all intents and purposes, this is a new construction delivery.”


    Tenants at the renovated 2100 Swift will find a set of offices modeled on the product now found in Chicago submarkets such as the West Loop and Fulton market, says Pete Adamo, senior vice president at of CBRE, who along with Mann will market the property. “We think suburban tenants want that as well.”


    “The building has been stripped down to the slabs and will be entirely reconstructed,” he adds. And the developer will replace all of the vital building systems, upgrade all of the interiors and exteriors and deliver all of the standard amenities for today’s office users. That includes designing open offices that users can turn into the collaborative spaces most desired by the millennial generation, and greatly expanded windows that will flood the interiors with natural light.


    This is not an entirely new strategy for Oak Brook developers. As reported in, in 2014 Golub & Co. and its partner Alcion Ventures bought Oak Brook Executive Plaza, a 1970's-era office complex on W. 22nd St., and have transformed it into Oak Brook 22. However, that 389,000square-foot development “has not been renovated to the extent that 2100 will be,” says Adamo. In that respect, “2100 will be unique.”


    The parking structure at 2100 Swift is also unique for the suburbs as the four-level parking deck allows for six spaces per 1,000 square feet, double the typical suburban setup of three spaces per 1,000 square feet.


    “As new workplace strategies have evolved to encourage a more densely populated office environment, the suburbs have often been hindered by parking restrictions,” says Adamo. “That is not the case with this project. It is one of the few buildings in the suburbs that will be able to house a large-scale workforce and still provide the convenience of ample parking. This property will work for any large firm, whether it be technology, consulting, financial or marketing.”

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  • Posted: July 20, 2016

    O'Hare gate expansions good news for western access, Cronin says


    Talk of adding gates on O'Hare's west side and an underground people-mover are positive signals that the suburbs' clout drought at the airport is over, according to DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin.




    Chicago announced a massive redevelopment program Friday at O'Hare that includes nine new gates at Terminal 5 and redeveloping the outdated Terminal 2.


    Missing from the rollout was a mention of DuPage County's economic holy grail -- a western terminal. However, the city is contemplating building new concourses to the west once the market demands it.


    Preliminary diagrams show options for concourses on O'Hare's west side near an access from the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway extension, currently under construction, and an underground people-mover train that would transport passengers to other terminals.


    "They're moving economic activity closer to the western side. We will have a toll roadway outside their gates where thousands will drive by. ... It's going to happen," Cronin said.


    Although the city has identified $300 million to upgrade Terminal 5, there's no funding yet for the other projects.


    Revenues for Terminal 5 work will come from fees tacked onto plane tickets, financing that requires a buy-in from American and United Airlines. The two carriers sued Chicago over parts of its modernization program before but are now negotiating with the city.


    "You can't force-feed the issue. We have to see what the industry can support," Cronin said.


    "O'Hare fuels the entire region's economy. I really believe we can further leverage it to impact the western side of the airport. The capital improvements outlined alone will bring more than 1,000 jobs and an increased economic impact across the region."


    The suburbs have had a tumultuous relationship with O'Hare and Chicago leaders, but Cronin said he's collaborating with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans.


    "We've had multiple meetings and they've been great partners," Cronin said.


    The Illinois tollway is extending the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway (Route 390) east, and it's expected to reach O'Hare by 2019 or so.


    Somewhat nebulous plans had included a parking lot and a bus to take people entering the airport from Route 390 to the main terminals. The prospect of an underground people-mover train and concourses is a major step-up.


    "I believe this is a very important building block. This plan will realize its full potential and work most effectively when passengers are coming in from the west," Cronin said.


    The city intends to expand Terminal 5, which opened 23 years ago, by 25 percent.


    Plans for Terminal 2 would convert the underused facility into a central hub with a new U.S. Customs and Border Patrol center and TSA screening stations.


    O'Hare's been notorious for delays, but a centralized terminal would help fliers make connecting flights, officials said.


    Originally Published by: Daily Herald | Marni Pyke | View Article

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  • Posted: July 15, 2016

    Letter to Crain's Chicago Business Editor: The West Loop Can Have McDonald's

    Written by: John A. Carpenter, President & CEO | Choose DuPage 


    Sure, Ronald McDonald is packing up and leaving Oak Brook, but we need to consider the McDonald's move in context. The McDonald's corporation is attempting to recuperate after an unshakable period of lethargy. As part of CEO Steve Easterbrook's strategy in which he must slim down the burger chain by $500 million, he plans to outsource jobs to India with cheaper labor costs, terminate a regional office in Ohio, and has laid off hundreds of workers—400-plus last year alone.


    The migration of the Golden Arches from its serene and economically secure campus in Oak Brook to Chicago should be seen as a justification to minimize square footage and lessen payroll by reducing the number of employees. The city of Chicago is fraught with soaring taxes, enormous pension debt and a business climate that's suffocating job creators. DuPage County has so much more to offer. Our low unemployment, skilled and educated workforce, and growing business sector will remain long after the city of Chicago uses up its source of corporate Band-Aids. Just this year, Chicago's credit rating was further diminished to basically “junk” status, the lowest grade among all major U.S. cities, except formerly bankrupt Detroit. DuPage County boasts a AAA bond rating due to its strong economy, fiscal management and healthy budgetary performance. In June, DuPage County dropped its sales tax by a quarter-cent, putting $36 million back into taxpayer pockets. Led by Chairman Dan Cronin, our county board ensures DuPage continues to be the economic development model for the Chicago region. A recent DuPage County audit shows economic activity throughout the community is booming as local commerce and business development flourish. DuPage maintains the lowest unemployment rate in the Chicago region, as it has for years. Our businesses are expanding and vacancy rates continue to decline. In 2015 alone, 3,792 jobs were created or retained and 105 new projects took shape in DuPage County with a total investment of $571 million. Similar numbers hold true for the past four years. The DuPage County education system provides both a skilled workforce for our employers and a solid base for our children. Over 92 percent of residents graduate high school, with half of them earning a bachelor's degree or higher—the highest success rate in the state, and much higher than the national average of 32.5 percent. McDonald's unfortunate move aside, DuPage County is alive and well. In fact, we are excited for the opportunity to soon be seeking new residents for an impressive Oak Brook complex with a super-sized opportunity inside DuPage County.

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  • Posted: July 8, 2016

    Section of former Elgin-O’Hare Expressway now a tollway

    Western Access O'Hare

    The completed western section of Illinois Route 390 is now officially part of the state’s tollway system.


    Tolls for the 6-mile stretch of tollway, which used to be known as the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway, are charged every mile and a half. Greg Bedalov, executive director of Illinois Tollway, said the tolls range from 30 to 60 cents per transaction per passenger vehicle, with a cost of $1.25 to go the entire length of the segment. Trucks are charged from 40 cents to $3.10 per transaction, with overnight discounts available. Bedalov said no issues have been reported since tolling began July 5. The western section goes from Lake Street, or State Route 20, east to State Route 83, according to The project also will have an additional ring road that will go around the west side of O’Hare International Airport and will connect Interstates 290 and 90. “The 390 portion, the east-west portion, is planned to be completed in 2017,” Bedalov said. “The 290 portion will go out many years after the 390 portion is complete – as far as 2025.” The entire Elgin-O’Hare Western Access Project is estimated to cost $3.4 billion, with a total length of 17 miles, according to Daniel Rozek, Illinois Tollway senior manager of communications. The Illinois Tollway operates and maintains approximately 286 miles of roads covering 12 counties in Northern Illinois.

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  • Posted: July 1, 2016

    Luxury rental development breaks ground adjacent to Hamilton Lakes Business Park in Itasca


    When you think of luxury rental developments, what do you picture? Modern apartment towers rising from the busy downtowns of major cities, right? That doesn’t have to be the case. The suburbs might not get as much press when it comes to new multifamily projects, but plenty of developers are bringing high-end rental units to suburban communities across the Midwest.


    This includes M&R Development, which in late May announced the ground-breaking of The Residences at Hamilton Lakes, a 297-unit luxury rental community in the Chicago-area suburb of Itasca, Illinois. The community, a joint venture between M&R Development, Hamilton Partners and Murphy O’Brien LLC, is expected to be ready for occupancy in the spring of 2017.

    Residences at Hamilton Lakes


    The community will include three four-story buildings offering a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans. It will also feature more than 7,500 square feet of resort-style amenities. These include an outdoor pool, media room, high-end gym, business center and event space. There’s also a spa, sauna, steam room, pet spa and yoga/pilates studio. “Today’s renters want high-end amenities and finishes found in many downtown developments, but not everyone wants to live in a downtown high-rise,” said Anthony Rossi Sr., president of M&R Development. “This community fills a niche in the market, bringing that same luxurious metropolitan lifestyle to the west suburbs.” Each unit in the rental community will come with nine-foot ceilings, quartz countertops and hardwood floors, amenities typically found in high-end urban apartment developments. Kitchens will come with stainless-steel dishwashers, self-cleaning ovens and frost-free refrigerators. Tony Rossi Jr., executive vice president with M&R Development, said that the company decided about six years ago that the area adjacent to the Hamilton Lakes Business Park in Itasca would be the perfect home for a high-end rental development. That’s because the business park, which includes more than 3 million square feet of office space in addition to restaurants and two hotels, is located right near busy expressways connecting to Chicago. The business park offers plenty of office jobs, too, which will attract future residents of the Residences at Hamilton Lakes, Rossi Jr. said. “For a suburban rental development, you need good employment, good transportation options and close proximity to a commuter train station,” Rossi Jr. said. “We’d like to be right next to the train station, ideally. But not all developments can be right next to one. We are about 1.5 miles away, which is still close. There is also a Pace shuttle bus that goes through the business park. The bus can go through our rental property, too, when it opens to take residents to the train.” Construction crews began pouring concrete for the residences in early June, Rossi Jr. said. The developer says, though, that the Residences at Hamilton Lakes won’t be the last new luxury rental development in the Chicago suburbs. “There was a time, back in 1996 or so, when you saw big 300-unit apartment deals wherever developers could get zoning,” Rossi Jr. said. “You’d see these big multifamily developments in Aurora or Oswego. The last five years, there has been no real suburban rental developments to speak of. That is now starting to change. The tough part is that unless you are near an area with heavy employment or a train station that gives couples the option to have one spouse work downtown and another in the suburbs, you’ll still have a tough time getting these kind of developments financed.”


    Written by: Dan Rafter | Real Estate Communications Group | View Original Article

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