by Dan Rafter
The Chicago suburbs will soon be home to a major new office campus, thanks to local developer Alter.
Alter earlier this month announced that has opened its Corridors North office park to future tenants who want to build their own customized office space.
Corridors North covers 50 acres of land in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, and benefits from a prime location at the intersection of the Interstate-88 and Interstate-355 expressways. Alter officials say that Corridors North can host up to 1.5 million square feet of new office space.
It might seem as if Alter is taking a chance here. After all, the suburban Chicago office market isn’t exactly booming, something that Richard Gatto, executive vice president of the company, freely admits. But Alter isn’t going after tenants that would otherwise locate in existing suburban office space.
The company instead is targeting users that want to build their own office space in a location that gives them easy access to Chicago and the rest of the Midwest.
Corridors North would be the latest addition to the 108-acre Corridors-Chicago office park developed by Alter. That park is already home to the Corridors I and II buildings, a pair of five-story office buildings totaling 300,000 square feet. Corridors III, which has seven stories and 217,500 square feet, is also located in the park.
“We are offering companies a very unique space here,” Gatto said. “We are bringing this land to the market. In the past here, we have marketed specific buildings, like Corridors I, II and III, here. This is the first time we are bringing this amount of land to the market.”
It’s not easy for office users to find such space in the Chicago suburbs, Gatto said. Users would have to travel to the western suburb of Aurora to find a site as large as 50 acres that has easy highway access, he said.
This explains the interest that Corridors North has already generated, Gatto said. Several brokers have already phoned Gatto to learn more about the site, he said.
“It is undeniable that the suburban office markets in Chicago still have high vacancy rates,” Gatto said. “Users can find a suburban office location for less money than they would spend to build a new building on our land. But the people who will locate here are doing so for a reason. They want to build fresh in a corporate-park setting.”
The reasons for building new might vary. Gatto said some future office users in Corridors North might want to own their own building. They might want to build a new headquarters location.
Gatto says that Alter has no official plans for what the buildings in Corridors North should look like. That, Gatto says, will be the decision of the eventual companies that build here.
“Right now, the people I’ve spoken with like not only the size of this site and its location so close to the interstate, but also the feel of the site, too,” Gatto said. “It backs up against the Morton Arboretum. You can make this into a campus very easily. It can have a collegiate feel to it. You think you are embedded in the forest when you come out here. That bodes well for engineering and R&D uses. And right down the block you have all the city-type amenities you’d want, the restaurants and anchor retailers that will help companies attract and retain workers.”