ND buys historic Chicago building
Published: October 17, 2006 / Author: Margaret Fosmoe
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood,” Chicago architect and city planner Daniel H. Burnham famously said.
The University of Notre Dame earlier this year became the owner of the Santa Fe Building, a historic Chicago office building designed by Burnham’s firm, but the university isn’t planning any major changes.
“We bought the building as an endowment investment in real estate,” said Scott Malpass, a Notre Dame vice president and chief investment officer.
The Santa Fe Building, built in 1904 and originally named the Railway Exchange Building, is at 224 S. Michigan Ave.
Notre Dame’s endowment invests in real estate property all over the world, and the Santa Fe Building appeared to be a good investment, Malpass said.The structure will continue to function as an office building. Management is handled by an outside firm.
The university’s Mendoza College of Business plans to move its Chicago executive MBA program into the building in 2007. (The Chicago program currently meets on North Michigan Avenue.)
That’s a coincidence that came about after the purchase of the building, Malpass said. The MBA program will pay the same market rent as other tenants, he said.
The building contains offices for many architects, including Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the city’s largest architecture firm. It also houses the headquarters of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, which will remain.
The building was 70 percent occupied when the sale closed in January, and occupancy is about 80 percent now, Malpass said.The imposing white terra cotta office building is 17 stories high with distinctive porthole windows on the top floor.
Burnham moved his firm’s office into the building after it was completed. It was there that
the architect worked on his influential 1909 Plan of Chicago.