lawsuit buildings

Building Owner Sues Chicago Law Firm for Unpaid Rent

  June 5, 2020

By Greg Zimmerman

The coronavirus pandemic will bring about fundamental and foundational changes to the real estate industry. Some changes will be positive — like a shift to strategies that focus on occupant health and wellness. Others may be less so: Building owners being forced to sue landlords for rent, leading to litigation that may drag out for months or years into the future.

That’s the case now for one Chicago building owner, Heitman, which is suing its biggest tenant, law firm Jenner & Block, for missing two consecutive rent payments on April 1 and May 1, according to the Chicago Tribune.  The law firm leases about 416,000 square feet in a building at 355 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, just north of the Loop. The rent in arrears, as well as other costs, total more than $3.8 million. Jenner & Block has leased space in the building since it opened in 2004. Heitman bought the building in 2014 for $715 million, according to Chicago Business.  

The firm admits it hasn’t paid rent, but argues that under the terms of its lease, it is allowed rent abatement “in the event of a situation, like the global pandemic, that renders the firm unable to use and occupy the space for its intended purpose,” according to a statement from the law firm. 

No doubt many other owners and landlords will be watching this lawsuit — the first of its kind — closely.  

This post was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management and FacilitiesNet.com. 


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