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Newcastle Limited Represents Chicago’s 77-Year-Old, 14-Acre (Gross) South Water Market Property in a Sealed-Bid Disposition Offering.

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November 14, 2002
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CHICAGO – Newcastle Limited is representing owners comprising the South Water Market Unit Sales, LLC, in a sealed-bid offering of the 77-year-old, 14-acre (gross) produce terminal, located on the Near West Side of Chicago, announced Michael R. Haney, President of the Chicago-based real estate firm, retained by the association to provide disposition services. Newcastle Limited is a national real estate advisory and development firm serving not-for-profit organizations, institutions, investors, corporations and governmental agencies.

The five-city-block property, situated at the southeast corner of South Racine Avenue and West 14th Place, is bounded by the Chicago ABLA residential community on the north; a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad embankment on the south; University Village and the University of Illinois Chicago’s South Field Sports Complex on the east; and a future City of Chicago Fire Station on the west.

Offers for the property are due January 17, 2003. “This offering represents a rare and outstanding opportunity to redevelop this nine-net-acre site into a highly desirable residential community that will contribute to the growth of the Near West Side, one of the hottest neighborhoods in the City of Chicago,” said Haney. According to the disposition timetable, an agreement with the successful developer will be executed in February of 2003 with the closing next fall.

“South Water Market, which houses six terra-cotta-clad, three-story warehouses comprising more than 1,000,000 SF, has operated as a fresh-produce exchange for 77 years. The successful bidder will have an opportunity to build on the development momentum and strong demographic trends on the Near West Side,” said Haney whose firm recently represented the Eleanor Women’s Foundation in a sealed-bid disposition of its property at 1550 North Dearborn to The Latin School of Chicago and represented Loyola University Chicago in the disposition of its 17-acre Mallinckrodt Campus to the Wilmette Park District. The company is currently conducting sealed-bid offerings for a 24,800 SF high-rise development site within Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus and a 70-acre development property in Lake County for Baxter International.

Immediately east of South Water Market is University Village, a $75,000,000, 68-acre, mixed-use development that is Chicago’s fastest-growing residential community. When completed in 2003, University Village will consist of 930 new residential units, 120,000 SF of retail space, public parks, and UIC dormitories and academic buildings. The site is within close proximity to nearby institutions including the University of Illinois at Chicago, Rush/St. Luke Medical Campus, Illinois Medical District and the prestigious St. Ignatius College Preparatory High School. The surrounding communities of Little Italy, Greektown, Pilsen, and Chinatown provide the dynamic cultural diversity of ethnic restaurants and entertainment.

“The site has great access to I-94, I-90, I-55 and I-290 and is within walking distance of University Marketplace, a new 120,000 SF retail corridor,” said Haney whose company has worked closely with the owners’ representatives, the Chicago Department of Planning & Development, and Alderman Danny Solis to prepare this property for disposition.

Built in 1925 and designed by the architectural firm of Fugard & Knapp, the market complex is comprised of six long buildings, each with between 23 and 33 bays, raised loading platforms and broad canopies. For decades it served as Chicago’s main wholesale fresh produce market, distributing food to restaurants and grocery stores across the city. “Today the market is antiquated and outmoded. Because of its inadequate access and narrow streets, it causes traffic congestion. The surrounding area, characterized by burgeoning residential development, is incompatible with the market’s property use,” Haney said.

Over the last 30 years, there have been approximately six previous failed attempts to achieve consensus for relocating the terminal and redeveloping the site. The relocation goal was accomplished when CenterPoint Properties Trust, in partnership with the City of Chicago, developed the new 25.7-acre, $58,000,000, state-of-the-art, 436,224 SF industrial condominium complex called the Chicago International Produce Market.

The new produce market is located a couple of miles southwest of South Water Market at on Wolcott Street, just south of Blue Island Avenue. The new building has 36 individual units, each with 12,117 SF. The Chicago International Produce Market officially opened on September 21 of this year. While the developer is completing tenant improvements, merchants are still operating out of the South Water Market.

According to CenterPoint, by January of 2003 their facility will be 100 percent occupied. “Although today South Water Market appears to be functioning normally, change will come very swiftly in the next few months. Owners who didn’t purchase at the new facility will probably move elsewhere in the neighborhood or close their businesses altogether,” Haney said.

“The goal for South Water Market, located just 10 minutes west of the Central Business District, is most likely to transform this horse-drawn-wagon product terminal into a vibrant residential community, designed to serve the needs of the city well into the future,” he said.

About Newcastle Limited
Chicago-based Newcastle Limited is a national commercial real estate firm serving governmental agencies, institutions, not-for-profit organizations, corporations and private investors. The firm’s strategic advisory, development and investment services are designed to reduce project risk and maximize asset value. To learn more about Newcastle, call Mike Haney at (312) 683-3113 or visit the company website at www.newcastlelimited.com.