A longtime owner of a two-building office property in Westmont has cashed out amid strong demand for office space in the western suburbs.
After an expansion last year by one of its largest tenants, a venture of Sun Life Assurance of Canada sold Oakmont Corporate Center and 1 Oakmont Plaza last month for nearly $19 million, according to DuPage County property records.
Centennial, Colo.-based real estate investment firm Valley Equity Group bought the buildings, marking its first property acquisition in the Chicago area.
The buildings, which Sun Life held for more than 20 years, were nearly a third vacant two years ago. But a recent expansion in 1 Oakmont Plaza to 54,000 square feet by a subsidiary of St. Louis-based health care management company Centene filled some empty floors. The buildings’ combined occupancy is now nearly 95 percent, according to real estate information company CoStar Group.
A spokesman for Valley Equity Group declined to comment on the sale.
That tenant growth parallels momentum for office landlords in the East-West Tollway submarket near Interstate 355, where the vacancy rate fell to 16.4 percent during the second quarter, according to real estate brokerage CBRE.
While the area is soon to lose its most famous tenant when McDonald’s moves next year to the Fulton Market District from its longtime Oak Brook headquarters, the rate has steadily dropped in recent years and is below the average 18.9 percent vacancy rate for all Chicago-area suburbs, CBRE data show
The market is especially tight for Class B properties like the pair of 30-plus-year-old Westmont buildings along state Route 83 that are near Class A properties, said CBRE broker Bill Novelli, who represented Sun Life on the transaction along with CBRE’s Derek Fohl.
One such Class A building is planned for next door, where developer Ryan Companies aims to redevelop the 18-acre former headquarters of Allied Van Lines’ parent company into an office complex with as much as 275,000 square feet.
“What (the Sun Life) properties offered was a more competitive or cost effective rent structure and the proximity to the (Oakbrook Center) mall,” Novelli said.
Aside from the Centene subsidiary, other leases in the buildings include a 15,541-square-foot lease by K5 Construction in six-story 1 Oakmont Plaza, at 999 Oakmont Plaza Drive, and a 18,498-square-foot lease by law firm Lyman & Nielsen in the four-story Oakmont Corporate Center, at 900 Oakmont Lane, according to CoStar.