The American Hospital Association believes it finally will be able to sell its former headquarters in Chicago after its landlord also agreed to sell the land beneath it.
Northwestern University, which owns the property in the city's Gold Coast neighborhood, confirmed it has agreed to sell its 45,187-square-foot parcel. The AHA and Northwestern have hired the Chicago real estate firm Mesirow Stein to handle a joint marketing effort.
"Not owning the land has been somewhat of an obstacle," said Richard Wade, the AHA's senior vice president for communications. "If you roll it altogether, we ought to have a nice package."
The sale of the two-building complex has dogged the AHA for the past four years. The AHA is spending $750,000 a year to maintain its vacant former headquarters (Dec. 23-30, 1996, p. 68).
In June 1994, the AHA leased 150,000 square feet of office space in a 36-story building in Chicago's Loop.
"We have saved money by moving out of the building compared to the cost of renovating the building, but we need to get rid of the thing," Wade said.
The 14- and 12-story buildings have a combined 285,000 square feet of office space. In its 1993 tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service, the AHA said the value of the complex was $27.7 million.
"It's a highly desirable piece of property," said Richard Stein, senior managing director at Mesirow Stein.
Stein wouldn't comment on what the property may be worth or how it will be marketed. Wade said the property will be reappraised.
A change in the property's use would require city approval. The Chicago Department of Planning and Development said neither the AHA nor Northwestern has contacted it about plans for the property.
Real estate observers say the neighborhood is mostly residential, and the corner lot with a lakefront view could rake in a heftier sum if the building is converted to residential property.
Chicago real estate analysts said a 10-year-old, 300,000-square-foot office building a few blocks away sold for $38 a square foot not long ago. At that rate, the AHA would get $11.4 million, although its buildings are much older.