Auto dealer pays Blackstone $60M for discounted suburban office

The family that owns Napleton Automotive Group just acquired one of the most prominent office properties in Chicago’s suburbs from Blackstone at a big discount.

A venture controlled by the Napleton family has purchased the 31-story Oakbrook Terrace Tower at 1 Tower Lane for $60 million in an all-cash deal, making it the largest sale of a multi-tenant suburban office building in the past 18 months, since the Kemper Lakes campus in Lake Zurich changed hands for $190 million last year, Crain’s reported.

The Napleton venture bought the west suburban property — the tallest in Illinois outside downtown Chicago — from New York-based Blackstone Group, which acquired the 785,000-square-foot building in 2015 as part of a $3.3 billion portfolio acquisition from GE Capital Real Estate. Eastdil brokers Bryan Rosenberg, David Caprile and Stephen Livaditis represented Blackstone in the deal.

The sale comes amid a lethargic period for office property sales nationwide, with a 60 percent decline in suburban office sales year-over-year through the third quarter. High interest rates, stubborn remote-work trends and a tough lending environment have pummeled Chicagoland’s office sector. Now, distress is starting to permeate the Chicago area, as there has been an uptick in foreclosures, loan defaults and litigation over debts tied to commercial real estate.

The Napletons secured the Oakbrook Terrace Tower at a relatively low cost of $76 per square foot, considering its historical value. The tower, designed by late architect Helmut Jahn, was 76 percent leased when it was put on the market over a year ago. One notable tenant is German industrial giant Bosch, which has a lease that runs through November 2031.

While Blackstone did not comment on the Oakbrook Terrace sale, the firm emphasized  its strategic focus on sectors with strong fundamentals, such as logistics properties, student housing and data centers, indicating a shift from traditional U.S. office spaces.

Napleton Automotive Group, one of the country’s largest dealership groups, may potentially relocate its main office to Oakbrook Terrace Tower. As of late last year, the tower was expected to generate a net operating income of $10.2 million in 2023, the outlet reported. 

—Quinn Donoghue 

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