The National Chicago

Commercial Property Executive

June Issue: Getting Creative With Office Inventory

Risk Takers
Who are these risky investors taking chances on vacant properties? According to experts, it’s definitely not any of the foreign capital coming into the country. Foreign investors mainly grab core and core-plus assets, which tend to carry lower risk. Instead, these properties are attractive to creative investors that don’t mind sticking their necks out.

Craig Golden, Blue Star Properties founder & principal, is one such investor. In the office-building business for the past 25 years, he seeks out vacant properties.

“I always used to say, if a building is 40 percent vacant, it’s perfect,” he said, laughing.

The Chicago-based real estate company recently bought the vacant former Chicago Public Schools headquarters in the Windy City’s Central Loop, built in 1907, with the intent of converting it into office space for tech companies and creative agencies. Work recently commenced on the property—renamed The National—with completion slated for the fourth quarter of 2015.

Golden agrees that taking a chance on a completely vacant building is a gamble, but he’s convinced that the right partnership and a bit of patience can go a long way with such a project.

“It’s the reward part that you take the risk for. (We’ll) create a lot of value on the back end if we can succeed with what we’re doing,” he added.

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