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Tech Park Sale Nets Big Profit for Skokie Firm

Skokie, IL, November 18, 2021 – A Florida real estate investor paid more than $36 million for an office building in the Illinois Science & Technology Park in Skokie, completing a lucrative cash-out for the Skokie-based firm that bought it less than five years ago.

A venture of Hallandale Beach, Fla.-based TopMed Realty bought the 178,246-square-foot office building at 4901 Searle Parkway in the northern suburb, according to sources familiar with the deal. The TopMed venture bought the building, which is almost fully leased to NorthShore University HealthSystem on a long-term deal, from a venture of Skokie-based American Landmark Properties.

The sale comes a month after American Landmark sold the life sciences lab portion and majority of the 22.6-acre ISTP campus to Chicago-based investor Singerman Real Estate for $75 million, nearly as much as the $77 million American Landmark paid for the entire campus in January 2017. With the NorthShore property sale, American Landmark has now unloaded the existing buildings on the campus for more than $111 million. And it may have another sale on the horizon: The firm is close to completing an $18 million redevelopment of a 1970s-built 135,000-square-foot office building at 8030 Lamon Ave. into more lab space.

American Landmark's recent sales highlight property types for which real estate investors have clamored during the COVID-19 pandemic: high-quality life sciences research buildings and office buildings with big, single tenants with good credit and long-term leases. The former has benefited from a rush of venture capital pouring into biotech and pharmaceutical research throughout the public health crisis, while the latter has drawn buyers looking for safe places to invest amid economic uncertainty.

NorthShore has nearly eight years remaining on its lease for the four-story building, where it houses a call center for telehealth operations, a data center and some administrative offices, according to a flyer from the capital markets team in the Chicago office of Jones Lang LaSalle, which marketed the property for sale. The Evanston-based hospital system and owners have invested roughly $3.4 million in building upgrades since 2006 and has annual 2.5% rent escalations under its current lease, according to the flyer.

The ISTP campus is on the site of the former research complex for pharmaceutical giant G.D. Searle.

TopMed made its first splash in Chicago in 2017 when it paid almost $110 million for the medical office building at 680 N. Lake Shore Drive, a 29-story building that once housed the headquarters of Playboy Enterprises. That building also has offices leased to NorthShore.