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$6B Makes a Record-Breaking Year for Downtown Office Sales

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While the summer is known as the season for blockbuster movies and corresponding sales, the autumn is marked as the time of record-breaking sales in downtown office space, with $6.1 billion in sales, according to real estate firm JLL's tally. And we've still got two months to go, so that record could further surpass the previous record of $5.3 billion in 2006.

We had a strong inkling that this would happen, because it's two of the three tallest towers in the city had changed hands before the second half of the year was over. The average price per square foot of $315 had already set a record in the summer.

There were several major deals that particularly pushed sales past the mark. Blackstone Group, who paid $11.4M in state and local real estate transfer taxes on top of a $1.3 billion purchase of Willis Tower in May, was a major contributor to the tally. Another conspicuous consumption deal is the $712 million sale of the 83-story Aon Center, which entertained 17 total offers all told.

So, while those were big wins, it may be the sellers and owners who are the big winners. Vacancy is below 13 percent for the first time since 2008. And even while we're breaking sales records, the city's relatively affordable compared to its coastal city sisters like New York, San Francisco, and Boston. That lures international money, who had been eyeing said cities. And when deals are done, they're handled with less debt than ever.

So, let's pop the champagne, and enjoy the party while it--and a low interest rate--lasts.

·Downtown office building sales hit record $6.1 billion [Crain's]
·Chicago office sales poised for record year [Crain's]
·$6.1B: Downtown Office Sales Set New Record [BizNow]