The bill for high-end office space in Chicago rose almost 20% in 2016, the biggest increase in the U.S. and second-highest in the world.
Rents in Chicago's newest and best-located office buildings rose to $38.84 a square foot in 2016, up from an average of $32.40 in 2015, according to a report from commercial real estate brokerage CBRE.
"You're as bullish as the anchor tenants are bullish, and we've seen strong interest," CBRE leasing broker Drew Nieman said.
Nieman, a CBRE executive vice president, represents Chicago developer Riverside Investment & Development in leasing the 53-story at 150 N. Riverside Plaza opened early this year. It is more than 80% leased, as is the 52-story River Point tower that a venture of Houston's Hines Interests opened early this year.
Another Riverside development that Nieman is helping lease, a partnership with Dallas' Howard Hughes Corp., won Chicago Plan Commission approval to construct a 51-story office tower at 110 N. Wacker Drive on Thursday.
This first wave of office development since the recession comes as overall downtown office vacancy fell to 11.1% in the fourth quarter of 2016, the lowest level since 2001.