Walgreen exit would be painful prescription for north suburbs
May 9, 2014

Rick Schuham


With 1.7 million square feet, Walgreen is one of the biggest users of office space in the northern suburbs. Northern Cook County and Lake County have a combined 21.3 million square feet of office space, according to Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Northern Cook County had a 15.8 percent ofice vacancy in the first quarter, while Lake County was at 30.9 percent, according to JLL.

An exit from Deerfield would mean Walgreen would face the two separate challenges of finding tenants to sublease the space for which the company owes rent and identifying buyers of the larger chunk that it owns, much of which is considered outdated, said Richard Schuham , co-manager of New York-based tenant brokerage Studley Inc.'s Chicago office.

“You figure they'd have to sublease what they're obligated to pay rent on and the rest would maybe be a tear-down for residential or some other use,” Mr. Schuham said. “The prospects are not good.”The campus was built over 20 years through 1985, meaning the newest buildings are 29 years old, according to a 2013 Crain's case study of the largest suburban corporate campuses.


A change in migration patterns has challenged all suburban landlords. In a study of 7.4 million square feet in Chicago-area office moves from 2010 through 2013, Studley determined that more than 68 percent of the deals by volume were moves within the suburbs. But more than 24 percent shifted to downtown, while no tenants of 20,000 square feet or larger went from downtown to the suburbs.

Walgreen exit would be painful prescription for north suburbs

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