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Dec 10 2018


The Kellogg Real Estate Club hosted Bob Chodos for an Executive Speaker Luncheon on Thursday, October 18. Mr. Chodos, a Vice Chairman at Newmark Knight Frank, is among the most reputable and experienced real estate professionals in Chicago. With more than 35 years in real estate brokerage and tenant advisory, Mr. Chodos has completed over 17.5 million square feet in lease and sale transactions valued at more than $8.1 billion.

Mr. Chodos spent 15 years at The John Buck Company, a Chicago developer responsible for many of the city’s prominent high-rise office towers. Through this experience, Mr. Chodos acquired a comprehensive understanding of the development process that he currently leverages for his clients seeking office space in new developments.
  
Mr. Chodos profiled his representation of Hillshire Brands in their relocation to 400 S. Jefferson Street in downtown Chicago. Having spun off from Sara Lee Corporation, Hillshire Brands wished to relocate to downtown Chicago to establish a unique identity and tap into the expanding downtown job market.

After touring several existing Class A office buildings, Hillshire was convinced that a traditional office building would not satisfy its criteria for establishing a unique identity. At this point, Mr. Chodos approached burgeoning real estate developer, Sterling Bay, about their newly-acquired property at 400 S. Jefferson.

Built in the 1940s, the 230,000 square foot structure was vacant and not in condition for creative office space occupancy. However, Sterling Bay’s adaptive reuse proposal would strip the property to its concrete structure and replace brick walls with floor-to-ceiling windows. After meeting with Sterling Bay and touring the property with Mr. Chodos, Hillshire was captivated by the potential destination for its new offices.

The redevelopment provided single-tenant occupancy, highway signage exposure, and a rooftop with views of the Chicago skyline. Mr. Chodos launched extensive negotiations with Sterling Bay on a long-term lease agreement and with the City of Chicago to secure Tax Increment Financing for the redevelopment.

Following months of negotiations, the project was approved by the City of Chicago and the lease was executed between Sterling Bay and Hillshire Brands. The successful redevelopment served as a critical first step in the recent westward expansion of the Chicago CBD.

Mr. Chodos also discussed the benefits of a career in brokerage, including competitive long-term compensation, client engagement with prominent Fortune 500 companies, and flexible work-life balance.

For students looking to break into the industry, serving as an analyst for a brokerage team is a perfect starting point, according to Mr. Chodos. Concluding with a Q&A, Mr. Chodos shared his thoughts on the peaking real estate cycle, Lincoln Yards and The 78 developments, and advice for a successful career in the real estate industry.

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