Block Club Chicago: The Google Effect? Experts Say Tech Giant’s Thompson Center Move Could Bring More Residents Downtown

“The $105 million sale of the Thompson Center to Google has the potential to restructure the Loop by bringing in more residents — and, with them, residential developments, real estate experts say.
“Developers, investors and real estate executives are watching the market closely after the tech giant announced in July it will redevelop the Thompson Center for office use, potentially bringing thousands of workers Downtown.
“The workers will need a place to live — and many will want to be nearby, said Ben Creamer, principal and managing broker of Downtown Realty Company.
“Now, Creamer and other industry experts are watching the Loop for what they are calling the “the Google effect:” a spike of real estate investment around the Thompson Center.
“John Sheridan, executive vice president for James McHugh Construction Co., said other notable properties in the area are considering adaptive reuse, meaning they could convert offices into residential or hotel units.
“We’re almost always looking at a couple buildings Downtown to be converted into a hotel or residential use from office use,” Sheridan said.
“Conversion of historical buildings can also come with tax incentives to alleviate the cost of construction, making them attractive to developers. On the other hand, such projects can take years to get off the ground, with their success dependent on good planning and working at the ‘right time,’ Sheridan said.
“Sheridan believes the Loop will continue to see conversions and adaptive reuse projects ahead of Google’s move-in date — but those projects aren’t all a result of the tech giant, as all of Downtown has seen adaptive reuse as the city’s landscape evolves.
“Tribune Tower, LondonHouse Hotel, the Virgin Hotel and the Dearborn Tower in the South Loop have been adaptive reuse projects in recent years.
“‘You can go up and down throughout the city — there are a huge number of buildings [that are conversions]. So I think this will continue to be a trend that we’ll see more and more over time,’ Sheridan said.” (Mercado, Block Club Chicago, 9/21/22)

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