Bank OZK, Manulife Lend $233M on Chicago Office Complex

The 373,000 square-foot development is the only new office construction in Chicago in 2023

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Fulton Street Companies and JDL Development, a pair of Chicago real estate developers, have secured $233 million in construction financing to build 919 on Fulton, a 373,000-square-foot office complex in Chicago.

Bank OZK (OZK) and Manulife Investment Management provided the financing, while JLL Capital MarketsKeith Largay, Philip Galligan and Tara Hagerty arranged the deal.  

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The project is the only office development in Chicago set to begin construction this year. 

Largay emphasized that the deal reflects an ongoing desire for creative office space in a national market that has seen fewer new office originations due to a secular shift in usage across the asset class since COVID-19 began in 2020.

“The execution of this transaction in today’s capital markets environment demonstrates the resiliency and outperformance of creative office in mixed-use submarkets, not only within Chicago but throughout the nation,” Largay said in a statement. “Investors remain interested in investing and tenants remain focused on occupying best-in-class assets in thriving, mixed-use neighborhoods. 

Ako Dickson, managing director of originations at Bank OZK, called 919 on Fulton “a remarkable project.” 

“Our lending focus is on best-in-class assets in best-in-class submarkets and 919 on Fulton certainly delivers,” he said in a statement. 

Located at 919 West Fulton Street, 919 on Fulton is expected to feature 350,000 square feet of Class A office space and 23,000 square feet of street-level retail. Retail anchor tenants will include Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse and Harrison Street Real Estate. Amenities for users of the building will include a fitness center, a yoga studio, a tenant lounge, a bike room, an outside terrace and a rooftop terrace with views of the Chicago skyline. 

Founded in 1993 by Jim Letchinger, JDL Development has built numerous residential towers and mixed-use skyscrapers. The firm’s other Chicago projects include 1 West Chicago Avenue, a 717-unit, 2.2 million-square-foot, 971-foot tall skyscraper; 640 North Wells Avenue, a 250-unit luxury apartment building with 10,800 square feet of retail space; and 811 Agatite Avenue, a 381-unit condo with 29,600 square feet of retail. 

Fulton Street Companies — founded in 2017 by Alex Najem and Ross Babel — have carved out a niche in the Fulton Market neighborhood, which has seen a growth in mixed-use development over the last decade. The firm’s projects there include 1100 West Fulton Street, a 45,000-square-foot office and retail building; 1045 West Fulton Street, a 160,000-square-foot Class A office property; and 917 West Fulton Street, a 530,000-square-foot office and retail property, the largest Class A property in Fulton Market. 

Brian Pascus can be reached at bpascus@commercialoberser.com