The former Sears, Roebuck and Company Headquarters Building located at 3333 West Arthington Street in Homan Square has been sold to a development venture led by Arnold Kozys, CEO of Markham-based freight carrier Arka Express. The $3.25 million sale also included the endangered Allstate Insurance Company Headquarters Building at 3245 W. Arthington Street, a 1,150-space parking structure, and a 3.4-acre vacant site. The 281,000-square-foot former Sears, Roebuck and Company Headquarters Building and adjacent structures on the campus are a Designated Chicago Landmark, however the 324,000-square-foot Allstate Insurance Company Headquarters Building has no landmark protection.
“The buyers are entrepreneurial, and they really saw the value of this location and what these properties mean for the area,” said David Levy, from NRC Realty & Capital Advisors who brokered the deal on the seller’s behalf. “It’s an immense amount of space just a few blocks from the [CTA’s] Blue Line and [Interstate] 290, so it’s just a matter of time before even more development moves into the neighborhood.” (Nitkin, The Real Deal, 8/23/18)
A 2013 Preservation Chicago Most Endangered, the Allstate Insurance Company Headquarters Building is a rare example of immediate postwar modern high-rise construction in Chicago. The 10-story, 324,000-square-foot building was designed by the noteworthy architectural firm of Carr and Wright in 1949. It was the first multi-story building constructed in Chicago after World War II and its unique elements make it a clear candidate for reuse and preservation.
There has been significant reinvestment in the Sears Homan Campus site in recent years. In 2009, the Homan Arthington Foundation opened the Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center which houses the Henry Ford Academy in the former Sears Power House building. This $40 million restoration received design accolades and earned a LEED Platinum certification. In 2010, the YMCA opened just west of the Power House and in 2013, John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols sponsored the renovation of the original Sears Tower. In 2017, Mercy Housing Lakefront completed the adaptive reuse and renovation of the six-story loft warehouse Sears Catalog Printing Building at 3301 West Arthington and Spauling, a $65 million development that delivered 181 loft-style affordable apartments. Preservation Chicago has been supportinve of all of these initiatives and developments and has testified on their behalf before the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.
The site has plenty of upside for redevelopment because of its proximity to the CTA Blue Line and its location in the “path of growth” moving west from downtown, said Mercy Housing Lakefront President Mark Angelini. “The former Sears HQ building and the Allstate building “are the two pieces that need to be redeveloped and recapitalized, so we’re excited.” (Ecker, Crain’s, 8/22/18)
A wide variety of tax incentive development tools are in place to help finance the redevelopment of the former Sears HQ Building and the Allstate Building. The site is in the Homan Arthington tax-increment financing (TIF) district. The site is located within an Illinois Enterprise Zone. Additionally, it is located within an Opportunity Zone, a program created by last year’s federal tax reform which allows investors to defer paying taxes on capital gains if they are carried over into developments in designated blighted areas.
As a Designated Chicago Landmark, the Sears, Roebuck and Company Headquarters Building is eligible for Chicago Landmark tax benefits, such as Class L Designation and federal tax incentives for historic preservation. The Allstate Insurance Company Headquarters Building is a strong candidate for Chicago Landmark Designation. This would both protect the building and make eligible for additional historic preservation tax incentive development tools.
Former Sears HQ in Homan Square sold to Chicago investors; The deal could lead to the redevelopment of historic West Side buildings that have been mostly vacant for years and badly in need of investment, Danny Ecker, Crain’s, 8/22/18
The Architecture of The Age of the Supply Chain: The Epic Saga of Sears in Chicago, Lynn Becker, ArchitectureChicagoPlus.com, 3/26/13