The runway of the 601W is getting longer and longer.
The New York owners of some of Chicago’s most famous office buildings are preparing to get a moratorium on their massive debt at the Aon Center in the East Loop.
The special servicer on the property’s $536 million senior loan approved a four-year extension to the loan’s July maturity date, which is being recorded, according to Trepp.
The building’s eponymous tenant, Aon, has also negotiated terms to extend the lease, the report said. KeyBank, the main servicer of the loans, declined to comment. While Aon’s lease was extended by two years, it has shrunk to about 300,000 square feet from its previous 400,000 square feet.
Landlords of the nearby One Two Pru office complex totaling 2.3 million square feet have also asked for additional time for 601W, and the borrower has moved more aggressively to extend repayments on its $389 million debt on the property.
Landlords who have used office buildings as collateral to secure debt are trying to dodge loans that were due to mature through the rest of the year and beyond as rising interest rates and a weak office rental market squeeze landlords.
For example, Wanxiang US Real Estate Group, which owns the One Two Pru assets, is clearly skeptical that the market will suddenly recover. Landlords have requested four- to five-year extensions well before their loans mature in 2025, suggesting the company lacks confidence in the impending quick turnaround.
The latest development of the Aon Center is a highlight of 601W’s bid for the 83-story, 2.8 million-square-foot office tower at 200 East Randolph Street.
Special servicer LNR Partners began overseeing the building’s $43 million debt scheme in February, claiming the firm defaulted on its debt by signing a lease with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association without lender approval.
This sparked a dispute between the lender and the landlord over the awarding of Blue Cross’ tenant improvement allowance 601W. According to reports provided by special servicers SitusAMC and LNR Partners, the lenders eventually agreed to pay a $1.5 million tenant improvement provision for the building in return for the company’s leadership to contribute to the balance of the $4.6 million Blue Cross tenant improvement allowance. Personally guaranteed credit rating agency DBRS Morningstar.
In March, the 601W failed to pay fees and mezzanine debt repayments resulting from property tax payments, according to SitusAMC. That’s when the servicer said the landlord was seeking to extend the loan’s July due date “as it is not currently ready to repay the debt.” The servicer said at the time it would evaluate the request once the lease dispute was resolved.
The managing members of 601W, Michael Silberberg, Victor Gerstein and Mark Karasick, did not respond to a request for comment. SitusAMC and LNR Partners did not respond to requests for comment.
Elsewhere in Chicago, 601W is trying to prevent foreclosure on its Civic Opera Building property on Wacker Drive. The landlord is also in talks with renewable energy and natural gas developer Invenergy to double the lease at One South Wacker to more than 200,000 square feet, where vacancy rates have soared to about 40 percent in recent years.