The transformation of River North in Chicago continues. The former skid row, once home to prostitutes, drugs and abandoned warehouse buildings, is now being proclaimed as one of the hottest office real estate markets in the U.S. by Bloomberg news.
According to Bloomberg, River North has gone from being rundown to featuring an array of trendy shops, restaurants and other entertainment options. This change has resulted in largely tech companies becoming office tenants in the neighborhood. The latest to lease office space in River North is Yelp Inc.
Bloomberg reports Chicago is among a handful of U.S. cities that’s gaining the most from the boom in technology companies and the resulting demand for office space. From the article:
“Startups and expanding firms alike are cramming into River North, drawn by its historic buildings and easy access to mass transit, pushing vacancies to the lowest in downtown Chicago.”
Bloomberg continues to go into the history of River North and what has been the driving force behind its renaissance. According to the article, River North has approximately 11 million square-feet of office space. Of that, only 10.8% was vacant at the end of June. As a whole, downtown Chicago had an office vacancy rate of 14%–illustrating just how popular River North has become.
Bloomberg points out River North shares a lot of similarities with other areas of the country that have been a magnet for tech companies. That is, they feature industrial-era properties where the buildings are smaller and are constructed of brick and timber. Other similar areas include South of Market in San Francisco, New York’s midtown south and South Lake Union in Seattle.