Zell company courts Baxter spinoff for HQ lease
February 18, 2015

Sam Zell's newest real estate investment trust is on the verge of landing a big new tenant: Baxter International's biopharma spinoff.

Equity Commonwealth Office Trust, a REIT the Chicago real estate billionaire took control of last year after shareholders ousted its previous leadership, is working to complete a headquarters lease with Baxter spinoff Baxalta in north suburban Bannockburn, according to people familiar with the deal.

If the complicated deal is finalized, Baxalta would lease all of Bannockburn Centre, a 257,191-square-foot building at 1200 Lakeside Drive, about four miles north of Baxter's Deerfield headquarters.

The deal appears to signify a new approach by Equity Commonwealth, whose previous leaders were perceived as being slow to make deals at languishing suburban properties.


“Sam Zell and the Equity folks have brought an aggressiveness and a keen eye to the markets that they're in,” said tenant broker John Goodman, an executive vice president at Savills Studley, who is not involved in the deal. “They have a lot of vacancy in their portfolio, and they know they're not going to add value by trying to wait out the market. They want to see every deal and beat their competition in any submarket they're in. They're turning around proposals very quickly.”

A Baxter spokeswoman confirmed the Baxalta spinoff is expected in mid-2015 but declined to discuss details, including the headquarters lease. It is unknown how many workers will move from Baxter's headquarters at One Baxter Parkway in Deerfield as part of the spinoff, or when the move will occur...

Zell company courts Baxter spinoff for HQ lease

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