Broker plans first suburban spec office project since crash

    The Chicago suburbs have too much vacant office space, but veteran broker Jack McKinney thinks he’s found a place where there’s not enough.

    Mr. McKinney said his Chicago-based firm, J.F. McKinney & Associates Ltd., is kicking off a four-building, 52,000-square-foot office development in Northbrook on spec, or without lining up tenants in advance. It’s the first spec — short for speculative — office project in the suburbs since the crash.

    Considering the struggling suburban office market — its vacancy rate was 24.4 percent in the second quarter, according to Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. — the term “spec office” has rarely been uttered in recent years. But vacancy was just 17.3 percent in north Cook County, lowest of the six submarkets, and Mr. McKinney said his project will appeal to tenants that want new space at a low price. Occupancy costs there will be about 20 percent lower than competing properties, he said.

    Read more in Crain’s Chicago Business.

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