News & Updates

Powerhouse Duo, O’Donnell & Nieman, Provide Insights at DL “Off The Record”


The recent Developing Leaders “Off the Record” event featured John O’Donnell of Riverside Investment & Development Company and Drew Nieman of CBRE, Inc., the creative minds behind the new 54-story Class A office development at 150 N. Riverside.  Hosted by Riverside Investment & Development Company, the informal event drew 30 NAIOP Developing Leaders despite the muggy, Chicago summer weather.

After grabbing a drink, Drew and John shared their backgrounds, experiences, and the various development and lease-up successes they accomplished together while at The John Buck Company.  In 2011, even after taking new positions with different companies, their partnership continued when John acquired the site for 150 N. Riverside and enlisted Drew to begin marketing and leasing the future development.  John mentioned that he had chased this specific site for ten years and was finally able to acquire it while others in the market were still in a “panic” from the recession.

The site had initial challenges from the lack of utilities, nonexistent driveway, and proximity to elevated streets, to nine existing Amtrak rail lines on-site.  However, John recognized the potential of the site with its access to the EL and Metra and the permanent unobstructed view of the three branches of the Chicago River.

In designing the building, Drew stated that the development team “went big right away” to 50 plus stories and over 1.2 million square feet.  John and Drew continued to tweak the building design and infrastructure based upon their future tenant’s wants and needs. They overcame the various hurdles of the early development phases, such as the challenge of limited construction hours (7:00 am – 7:00 pm) imposed by neighboring residential restrictions and the on-site Amtrak lines requiring construction between 1:00 am and 5:00 am.  The Chicago Riverwalk setbacks and the existing Amtrak rail lines reduced the build-able portion of the site to around 30 feet of an 80 foot deep site; however, this obstacle produced the unique design that is 150 N. Riverside.

The building boasts some incredible amenities on the river level including a ballroom/conference room, an 8,500 square foot fitness center, and a new restaurant concept run by the well-known restaurateur, Brendan Sodikoff.  Other unique features include a lobby that reaches up to 100 feet high with a distinctive 3,000 square foot LED media wall, a mezzanine level Starbucks with “Green Apron” service, and a 1.5 acre plaza.

While the Developing Leaders were not able to tour the inside of the building that day, as it is still under construction, a quick view from the outside provided the opportunity to see the impressive design and progress as 150 N. Riverside nears completion at the end of the year.  With the building eighty percent leased, there is still time for NAIOP members to bring their clients to this best-in-class office development. See Event Photos

NAIOP Chicago’s “Off the Record” events are smaller, more informal gatherings with industry experts highlighting their insights and experience in commercial real estate.  Watch for upcoming details on the next OTR event.

Submitted by Brent Jacob, John Hancock Real Estate and NAIOP Chicago DL Member