Historic Michigan Boulevard District Properties
In the 1990s, Metropolitan Properties focused on restructuring mortgages on several properties owned by Louis D’Angelo’s father, the late Dino J. D’Angelo, including 310 and 318 South Michigan Avenue and 33 East Congress Parkway. These commercial buildings, comprising more than 1 million square feet of office space, were challenged by the recession of the early 1990s. Credit tenants were migrating to newer buildings located in the West Loop that offered more amenities and safety features, including larger and more efficient floor plates, and required less operating costs and reserves to maintain facades. In this market environment, Metropolitan Properties successfully restructured its office portfolio and set out to maximize operating revenues by initiating modest cosmetic improvements to reposition its assets as Class B office buildings. Through this process, Metropolitan Properties developed a well-earned expertise in property management and commercial leasing.
Also during this time, the City of Chicago recognized the historic Michigan Avenue “streetwall” corridor was being threatened as its older, distinctive properties became technologically obsolete for their original purpose as office buildings. Speculation increased that some of the city’s most notable vintage properties might be demolished to make way for new, more efficient buildings. This concern grew when the City made plans to create Millennium Park nearby. Mr. D’Angelo was appointed by the City of Chicago to join a blue ribbon committee to examine the feasibility of establishing a historic district along Michigan Avenue that would include the developer’s 310 and 318 South Michigan Avenue buildings, and subsequently 332 South Michigan Avenue. In 2002, with the support of the majority of property owners along Michigan Avenue and the agreement to extend an existing Tax Increment Financing (T.I.F.) district to include portions of the East Loop, the City of Chicago created the Historic Michigan Boulevard District.
With demand for office space in the district remaining weak, Metropolitan Properties began examining alternate uses for those assets under its control, and set off to acquire other properties in the area.