Gibsons Restaurant Group Eyes Leasing Chicago’s Fulton Market Building

CHI Gibsons Restaurant Group eyes lease in Fulton Market building MAIN

A local restaurant operator plans on opening a store in Chicago’s Fulton Market, a bright spot for Chicago’s struggling commercial real estate market.

Gibsons Restaurant Group is nearing a deal to lease about 15,000 square feet at the yet-to-be-constructed property at 917 West Fulton, Crain’s reported, citing Fulton Street Companies co-founder Alex Najem. The building will probably be complete in two years and the restaurant would open that spring, Najem said.

Gibsons, which owns or operates more than a dozen restaurants including Gibsons Bar and Steakhouse in the Gold Coast, said the group has been eyeing Fulton Market for years.

“Fulton Market’s been an up-and-coming area, and now it has … up and come,” Gibsons chairman Steve Lombardo said while declining to disclose details of the potential deal. “We’ve had bids out on properties, we’ve tried to buy real estate, we’ve tried to lease real estate, we’ve just never been able to.”

Fulton Market has remained largely immune in the pandemic-hammered downtown Chicago commercial market. While office vacancies across the city rose about 3 percent last year, Class A availability in Fulton Market dropped by 1.2 percent with an average price per square foot of more than $220 than the rest of the central business district, according to Avison Young.

The pandemic-era projects in Fulton Market transformed the area in the city’s hottest neighborhood, and some experts are concerned the outdated infrastructure won’t be able to take more development in the area. The century-old traffic, transportation, and utility infrastructure of the district haven’t been tested due to remote work, ex-Chicago Plan Commissioner Andrew Mooney had said in a Crain’s commentary.

Large projects planned for the area include Sterling Bay’s biggest investment in Fulton Market, a two-building, 770,000-square-foot residential and office project at 1300 West Carroll Ave, which was approved for zoning last year. LG Development also plans to have two apartment buildings totaling 665 units at 1143 and 1150 West Lake streets.

[Crain’s] – Connie Kim