CASE STUDY: CHURCH STREET PLAZA
- Purchased undeveloped land from city of Evanston and Northwestern University in 1999
- Developed three retail parcels anchored by 3,400-seat, 18-screen Century Theatres, Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, Cost Plus World Market, and Urban Outfitters
- Served as the master developer for adjacent complementary uses, including a 178-room Hilton Garden Inn, 205 luxury condominiums, 195,000 square-foot office building, and 1,400-car parking garage
Investment Strategy and Process
- Revitalize high-potential, underutilized urban land adjacent to major university, public transit, and attractive downtown
- Design project in a horizontal array with defined architectural elements to complement existing neighborhood and minimize hard-to-lease upper-floor space
- Secure national credit tenants for project stability and financing while earmarking smaller spaces for local operators that appeal to the unique Evanston consumer market and add vitality and interest to the project
- Harvest value strategically when market fundamentals are strong and major leases have significant term remaining
- AHC sold a partial stake in the asset to Grosvenor Americas (North American real estate investment arm for the Duke of Westminster) in 2006
- Sold both partners’ remaining interests in the asset to Stockbridge Capital in October 2013
Church Street Plaza is a prime example of AHC’s proprietary sourcing, rigorous asset management, prudent use of leverage, and disciplined hold/sell analysis. AHC executives worked directly on leasing, asset management, property management and financings.
As a result, Church Street Plaza remained over 90% leased continuously from its opening in 2001 to its sale in October 2013, and weathered the 2008 recession and several tenant bankruptcies without seeking concessions from its lender or requiring additional equity contributions from its owners.