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Stretch of South Loop retail could eventually make way for a new tower

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This low-slung commercial development in the heart of the South Loop might not last long

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A rendering of the now-dormant 2014 proposal designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz.

A retail strip in Chicago’s booming South Loop has a new owner with aspirations of developing the property into a new high-rise tower. According to a report by Crain’s, a venture led by developer Buzz Ruttenberg paid $7.9 million for the 8,400-square-foot building at 400 S. Financial Place and will look to take advantage of the site’s generous underlying zoning. With no height limit in place, possible uses include new office space, condominiums, or even rental apartments catering to young professionals or students.

The recent change of ownership doesn’t represent the first time this location has found itself in the center of redevelopment speculation. Two years ago commercial developer MB Real Estate was reportedly kicking around a plan to replace the existing building with a glassy 40-story apartment building designed by Chicago architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz. That proposal eventually went silent, leaving many to wonder what—if anything—was planned for the under-utilized parcel.

"It's a very attractive site with a variety of alternative uses that will only get more attractive with time," Ruttenberg told Crain’s following the sale. With the property currently generating positive income from its retail tenants, the Chicago-based developer has ample time to consider his future options.