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Development Watch

Developers eager to cash in on rising rents and high apartment occupancy or demand for downtown hotels, have a new opportunity in a development plot for sale at 220 E. Illinois St. Sandwiched between one condo high rise at the east end of the block, and the impending 42-story Optima Streeterville Tower at the west end, any developer will probably want to build to the 775,000 sf zoning limit. That would translate to about 600 apartments, or 450 apartments and a 300-room hotel, by Centrum Properties Principal Sol Barket's estimates. Centrum is the seller, and hopes for at least $50M for the prime parcel. Barket insists this is not a distressed sale, that the land's $10M in debt will be easily erased by the sale. Incidentally, Centrum was the developer of the neighboring 281-unit condo tower, completed in 2008. Centrum built a lot in the boom, but ended up with a portfolio of troubled properties, like the Roosevelt Collection which it sold off at a huge loss earlier this year. [Crain's]