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JW Marriott 151 W Adams St. Chicago, IL
JW Marriott

Mansur and Company announces the sale of the one million square foot 208 S. LaSalle Building comprised of a 610 room J.W. Marriott luxury hotel under development and 335,000 square feet of office/retail  for a price in excess of $120 million.  The property, which Mansur acquired in 2005 for $44 million, was sold to a venture including a large German investment company and a local developer.

Crain's Article

Reschke Reboots as Hotel Developer

By: Alby Gallun May 08, 2006

After losing his office building empire, developer Michael Reschke is returning to the downtown market with a $125-million plan to convert a vintage LaSalle Street tower into a high-end hotel.\

Mr. Reschke and partner E. Barry Mansur have hired noted local architect Lucien LaGrange to redesign the interior at 208 S. LaSalle St., a half-vacant Burnham-designed office building that dates back to 1914.

Since the hotel market’s hotter than the office market, a conversion makes sense, says Mr. Reschke, chairman and CEO of Prime Group Inc. “The economics were a lot better to convert the space to a hotel than to slug it out and re-lease it as office space,” he says.

But his plan comes at a time when roughly 3,200 other hotel rooms are in the works downtown. It remains to be seen whether the market in general can support much more hotel space — and, in particular, if there’s enough demand for hotel rooms in the heart of the financial district, which can be moribund after business hours.

In fact, the area around the 21-story building — which will be renamed the Reserve, in honor of its next-door neighbor, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago — is dominated by offices. The only major hotel in that part of the Loop is the W Chicago City Center, which, just across the street at 172 W. Adams St., would be a direct competitor to Prime Group’s planned hotel.

W execs, for their part, aren’t overly concerned about a potential new rival, though “anytime a hotel opens up across the street from you, it makes (customers) make a decision,” says Andrew Casperson, the W’s general manager.

In fact, the W’s success is one reason Messrs. Reschke and Mansur say they’re confident in their project’s prospects. “The Loop area is really shy on Class A hotels,” says Mr. Mansur, who is also part-owner of Hotel Burnham Chicago at Washington and State streets.


Messrs. Reschke and Mansur are in serious discussions with a well-known hotelier that would run the 370-room hotel, which would occupy floors two through seven. “It’s a luxury hotel brand and it’s a household name,” Mr. Reschke says, declining to elaborate.

Messrs, Reschke and Mansur are joining a herd of developers who have jumped into the hotel market, which is rebounding after a long slump, driving up occupancies, room rates and hotel prices.

The downtown hotel occupancy rate was 61% through the end of March, up from 56% a year earlier, according to the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau. The average daily room rate was $151.66, up from $131.54.


Once a high-flying office developer, Mr. Reschke has seen his star fall in recent years as Prime Group Realty Trust, an office real estate investment trust (REIT) he founded and led, ran into financial trouble.

After resigning under pressure in 2003, he and Mr. Mansur agreed to buy the REIT in 2004 but instead ended up suing it after the deal fell apart. As part of a settlement, Prime Group Realty Trust agreed to sell 208 S. LaSalle to the developers for $44 million.

Including the purchase price, the hotel portion of the project will cost about $300,000 per room — a high price even by today’s standards. By comparison, the Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago recently sold for about $286,000 a room, believed to be a record for Chicago.

Mr. Reschke says he has lined up lenders for the project, though he declined to name them.

The LaSalle Street hotel will cater primarily to business travelers. But it could do well with tourists, too, says Roger G. Hill, CEO of the Gettys Group, a Chicago-based hotel consulting and design firm.

“That location is really viable as long as the economics work,” he says. “It’s getting better every day.”

©2006 by Crain Communications Inc.

Hotel Burnham 1 W Washington St Chicago, IL
Hotel Burnham

“Redevelopment of the Year” – Crain’s Commercial Real Estate Awards

The landmark Reliance Building was transformed into the Hotel Burnham following a $27.5 million renovation. Mansur Realty Corporation and its partners financed and directed the extensive redevelopment of the 122-room European-style hotel, located on State Street in downtown Chicago, IL.

NIRE Article

Northern Illinois Real Estate

article (March 2000 issue)


The foundation for Chicago’s landmark Reliance Building was laid 110 years ago at the southeast corner of State and Washington. Today, the architecturally significant property has been restored to its original glory in the shape of the elegant Hotel Burnham–a transformation that has triggered the renewal of the once great State Street shopping district. The $27.5 million renovation was financed by Canal Street Hotel LLC, a joint venture comprising Mansur Realty Corporation, McCaffery Interests and Granite Development, with support from the City of Chicago Planning and Development Department.

The new Hotel Burnham is managed by the Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, a growing San Francisco luxury hotel chain that also operates Hotel Allegro and Hotel Monaco in Chicago. It caters to both the business and leisure guest with numerous upscale amenities. Full concierge service, exercise room and complimentary morning coffee and evening wine service in the lobby are a few of the many services provided. The hotel also boasts The Atwood Cafe, an 86-seat restaurant and lounge offering all-American comfort foods prepared in traditional style.

“The Hotel Burnham offers guests a unique experience in downtown Chicago,” said E. Barry Mansur, chairman of Mansur Realty Corporation, the Chicago-based private real estate investment, development and institutional advisory company. “The restoration of this architectural landmark as a luxury boutique, European-style hotel represents a major step toward bringing State Street back to its original splendor and establishing it once again as a major destination for visitors to the city.”

Completed in 1895, the Reliance Building was designed by architects Daniel Hudson Burnham and John Wellborn Root, and later, Charles Atwood. Originally designed as an office space, the Reliance Building was one of the city’s original skyscrapers as well as one of the first to use iron and steel frame construction rather than the customary concrete. The exterior facade consists almost entirely of windows, with both flat and projecting bays, and is filled out with glazed terra cotta tiles. At the time, the building was a premier example of Chicago and foreshadowed the city’s 20th Century skyline.

By the 1950s, the building had lost its premier status and became valued primarily for its State Street retail space where Carson Pirie Scott had once been a tenant. The 5,500 square feet of office space in the upper levels of the building had grown outdated as an office tenants increasingly wanted larger footprints and modern floor plans.

Despite its 1975 landmark designation, the Reliance Building and its value continued to decline until 1993, when the City of Chicago acquired the building by eminent domain for $1.2 million and funded a $6.6 million rehab to encourage private investors to contribute to the rebuilding of this historic building. The city initiated the restoration of the building’s exterior, including replacing the windows and reconstruction of the terra cotta claddings and cornices. A storefront was erected to give a temporary look of progress to the building.

“The City played a very active role in preserving and restoring the Reliance Building. The Hotel Burnham proves the wisdom of that effort,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley. “It’s a real jewel, and it’s contributing to the revival of State Street and the entire Loop. An exciting downtown attracts tourists and suburbanites, and that translates into jobs for people from every neighborhood of Chicago.”

Five years after the city’s initial restoration effort, in 1998, Canal Street LLC provided $19 million to acquire the property and complete the restoration of the Reliance Building. Financing was provided by Fremont Investment & Loan of California and Mid City Financial Corporation of Chicago. An additional $2.5 million in tax-increment financing was provided by the City of Chicago. Antunovich Associates, Inc. was architect of record, with assistance from McClier for restoration. Plant UBM Joint Venture served as general contractor. In completing the historic ambiance, interior designer Susan Caruso of Intro Spec Design focused on using rich earth tones and luxurious materials throughout.

“One of the many challenges facing the redevelopment team was restoring the building’s historic aspect while also meeting contemporary building codes,” commented Ted Rodriguez, general manager of the Hotel Burnham. “Every design aspect was approved by McClier to ensure that the building retained its historic elements while being converted into a contemporary business hotel.”

The glazed white terra cotta facade, the bronze and granite storefront with wide glass windows, and the flat cornice topping the structure have all been restored to replicate the original look given by Burnham, Root and Atwood. The interior again mimics the original design, boasting an open cast-iron staircase, white Carrara marble wainscoting and ceilings, ornamental elevator grills and an elaborate mosaic floor. The upper levels contain many references to the building’s former office designs with the room numbers painted on opaque windowed doors, the original mail slots, and doorknobs and hinges acting as additional reminders of the building’s history.

The success of the hotel has proven the worth of recreating the original look and feel of the Reliance Building. The Hotel Burnham is providing a luxurious escape for guests while preserving a piece of history.

Chicago Tribune 1

Vertical Triumph: Reliance Building Restoration is a Vote for Old Glory

Written By Blair Kamin
Sunday, October 17, 1999

It’s like seeing great but time-worn fresco–one thinks of the Sistine ceiling brought back to its legendary splendor. Once vivid colors emerge from decades of dust and grime. The bold outlines and sharply etched details of the artist are revealed anew. You see a brilliant, total work of art, not faded fragments.

That is the near-miracle wrought by the architects who have transformed the 104-year-old Reliance Building, the gossamer gorgeous Chicago skyscraper that now etch the world’s skylines. Their achievement is all the more astonishing because they have converted the renowned Reliance to an entirely new use without compromising the building’s brilliant original design.

Four years ago, when the big-windowed, white terra cotta exterior of the Reliance was returned to its ethereal glory, it was half a victory. Now with the interior sparkling as a new 122-room luxury hotel (renamed the Hotel Burnham in honor of architect Daniel Burnham, whose firm designed it) this triumph of preserving the past is complete.

From a dazzling elevator lobby to a dramatic internal staircase, the job has been executed with meticulous attention to detail. Never has the often-grubby business of recycling old building s seemed so artful or so significant.

The Reliance boosts an already resurgent State street and fuels the emerging trend of giving Chicago’s aging skyscrapers new life as hotels or condominiums. And at a moment when a developer wants to erect the world’s tallest building in the Loop, the comparatively diminutive Reliance, at just 16 stories, offers a timely reminder about what endures in architecture: not what is biggest, but what is best.

Credit for the final leg of this six-year odyssey, which cost more than $ 30 million in public and private funds, goes to architect Joseph Antunovich of Antunovich Associates of Chicago and his restoration adviser, T. Gunny Harbor of McClier Corporation. of Chicago.

But it would be remiss not to mention either the developers who backed the project, McCaffrey Interests, Mansur & Company and Granite Development, the hotel managers, the San Franscico-based Kimpton Group, and Mayor Daley, without whom the restoration of the Reliance would have been impossible.

In 1994, a year after the city won control of the reliance from a longtime owner who had allowed the building to go to seed Daley had to endure jeers from the City Council before recalcitrant alderman finally agreed to fund a restoration of thee reliance’s crumbling exterior. “This building is not worth a dime,” said John Steele, then the 6th ward alderman.

Now, though, it’s easy to appraise the Reliance’s true value: priceless.

No other building so dramatically encapsulates the engineering and aesthetic advances that made Chicago the birthplace of the skyscraper: the shift from load bearing walls of glass supported by internal metal cage; the invention of elevators new foundation technology that gave the new cloud busters firm footing in Chicago’s soft clay soil.

The early skyscrapers, finished in the 1880, were clad in stone, a material associated with solidity: it was used to soothe pedestrians jittery about the structural stability of the new kids on the block. But the Reliance, which was completed in 1895, eschewed the heavyweight cloak for a thin membrane of generously scaled windows and white terra cotta panels. The latte marked the first time glazed terra cotta had clad an office building.

Projecting window bays added to the Reliance’s sense of verticality while flooding its interior with daylight, a major improvement over the dim wattage of the primitive electrical fixtures then in use. The feature proved especially useful in the examining rooms of the doctor’s and dentists who were among the building’s original tenants.

Yet for all the Reliance was a precursor to the bare-boned boxes of Ludwig Mies van Rohe, the skyscraper partook from history, as the 1995 renovation made clear.

Once all the grime was wiped off the terra cotta, you could see how the Reliance’s designers drew upon the soaring Gothic cathedrals of medieval France to dramatize the form of the tall building. Clusters of thin columns or colonnettes, for example, made the building’s corner seem delicate rather than blocky.

But the fragile beauty did not last. Gradually the pristine white facade became encrusted with soot and blightly by klutzy signs and fire escapes. Panes of some windows were boarded up with plywood. By 1993, the building had just six tenants, including Ella’s Tea Leaf Studio on the seventh floor. Its street-level retailer’s included a shop selling peek- a-boo brass and other exotic lingerie.

One of the principal virtues of the restoration is that it reclaims the work of the two great architects–Burnham’s partner, John Root, who shaped the very glassy brown-granite base of the Reliance before he died in 1891; and the man who replaced him as Burnham’s chief designer, Charles Atwood, who was responsible for the Reliance’s equally revolutionary upper floors. (He gets his due in the Hotel Burnham’s ground floor eatery, the Atwood Cafe)

To passerby’ on State street who have been eyeballing the Reliance’s restored terra cotta facade and cornice since 1995, the most noticeable change will be to the bottom of the building, where a temporary wall of glass and aluminum panels has been replaced by new brown granite walls that are overlaid with a delicate reproduction of Root’s original Gothic Filigree.

The brown granite endows the base of the Reliance with an appropriate feeling of solidity without repeating the heavy, fortress-like appearance of such earlier Root buildings as the Rookery. Huge sheets of glass allow pedestrians to glimpse the tall-ceiling Atwood Cafe while visually unifying the bottom of the building with the big windows of the Reliance’s upper floors, There are new, curvy drapes up there, but they do not disturb the building’s overall sense of transparency.

The hotel, whose official address is 1 W. Washington St., has entrances on both Washington and State, the former leading to a new and largely conventional hotel lobby, the latter pointing the way to a restored elevator lobby that is nothing short of extraordinary.

Here, the visitor encounters a small but soaring space that repeats in miniature the perfect proportions of the skyscraper. It has a glistening mosaic floor and exotic polished marbles-some red, some green, others black. The most striking of them, a white Italian stone with inky black and blue veins, is arranged in wall and ceiling panels that form near perfect mirror images.

Despite the bold display of color, the lobby never goes over the top. And like the exterior, it has an incredible sense of transparency, accentuated on one side by an enormous interior wall of glass. Together, they make the lobby, cafe and the street outside seem like one continuous space.

What marks the Hotel Burnham as truly and unusual, however, is that when the hotel guest venture upstairs they will get a sample of what the interior of a turn of the century office building looked like. The hotel even allows architecture buffs to visit one of the rooms, provided they have an escort. Thus, the Hotel Burnham is something of “a living skyscraper museum.” Says Jim Peters project manager who helped over see the project as director of Chicago’s landmark commission.

People used to beige-carpeted white-walled corridors in modern office buildings will encounter something very different here: terrazzo tile floors, white marble wainscoting and mahogany door and window frames. In a wonderful touch the hotel room numbers are painted onto the translucent glass doors in an old-fashioned format that precisely recalls the office numbers that once graced the Reliance.

The room numbers exemplify the balance struck by the architects and the interior designer, Susan Caruso of Los Angeles, between preserving key features of the office building and giving the interior enough in the way of hotel touches so that it doesn’t seem cold and institutional.

Happily, the balance continues in the guest quarters–former office cells that were small enough to be easily adapted into hotel rooms. The drapes, for example, are a clubby blue on the outside, but white on the outside, so they blend in easily with the building’s milky exterior.

Best of all, by inserting two new fire stairs in the back of the building, the architects were able to preserve the openness of the Reliance Building’s richly decorated internal staircase, which sweeps through the upper-floor lobbies like a piece of sculpture.

All this painstaking detail work adds up to a supreme example of historic preservation.

A world-renowned skyscraper that could have been lost to the wrecking ball now proves that old buildings can be recycled to good effect. Long heralded for what it for what it foreshadowed, the reliance today can be appreciated for what it is the culminating achievement of Chicago’s early skyscrapers.

But the reconstitution of the Reliance teaches a broader lesson about architecture, and it is one that deserves special attention in a tradition-bound city that sometimes seems to have lost its nerve: The same daring that gave us the landmarks of yesterday is needed to create the landmarks of tomorrow. Only if we need that lesson will we fully appreciate the restored glory of this total work of art.

Chicago Tribune 2

Architectural Detectives Find Their Quarry
Written By Blair Kamin
Sunday, October 17, 1999

Bringing back the old glory of flagging skyscrapers typically demands detective work that would confound Hercule Poirot.

Just ask the restoration expert on the Reliance Building, Gunny Harboe of the McClier Corporation. To get the right stone for the 104-year old Reliance, now he had to search the world over.

The brown granite that once covered the base of the Reliance was known to have distinctive hues of gray, brown and pink. Replacing it with a generic brown granite would look, well generic. So Harboe had to find something that would replicate the old as closely as possible.

Clue No. 1 was the Celtic cross headstone of architect John Root, who designed the base of the building. An 1895 magazine article said headstone, located in Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery, was made of the same Scottish granite as the Reliance. But the quarries from which the rock had been hewn were no longer operating.

“Then we had a mad search to try to come up with something as close as possible to what it was,” said Harboe, 44 whose credits also include the award-winning restoration of another Burnham and Root gem, the Rookery Building. A quarry in Finland was one possibility, and the stone subcontractor on the project, George Lockerbie checked it out. But that quarry, too had closed.

Finally. The subcontractor came up with a suitable material. Its name: “Charlie Brown” Granite. It was found in another quarry, this one in Texas, that just happened to have Five blocks of the stone, each roughly as big as a car. Harboe acknowledges that “Charlie Brown” is a shade browner than the original granite on the Reliance, but it had to precisely the soft subtle color he was looking for.

The blocks were cut into about 70 pieces that eventually were shipped to Chicago and affixed to the base of the Reliance.

Now, after all the detective work, they are a part of history.

United Store-All

Mansur Realty Corporation has acquired a 50% interest in United Stor-All Centers, LLC, a fully integrated real estate company focused solely on the self-storage industry which develops, owns, acquires and managed self-storage properties. Headed by CEO Bruce Manley, United plans to develop approximately 36 new facilities with a total value of $225 million over the next three years.

News Release


(Chicago, Ill. – June 14, 2000)

E. Barry Mansur, Chairman of Mansur & Company, announced the acquisition of a 50% interest in United Stor-All Centers, LLC. Headquartered in Blue Bell, Pa., United Stor-All is a fully integrated real estate company focused solely on the self-storage industry which develops, owns, acquires and manages self-storage properties.

Headed by CEO Bruce Manley, United plans to develop approximately 36 new facilities with a total value of $225 million over the next three years. According to Manley, the company currently has eleven sites under contract and plans to initiate construction of these properties in 2000. United will initially develop facilities in the New York to Pennsylvania corridor, and in selected Florida markets.

“We are very pleased to team up with such an experienced and reputable developer,” said Mansur. “We plan to build and hold all newly developed projects in order to build a substantial portfolio of self-storage facilities nationwide.”

Manley added that United plans to expand its development and management activities to other markets in the country. “We are already considering sites in the Baltimore–Washington D.C. market and in Midwestern cities such as Chicago and Detroit,” he said.

United Stor-All Centers, LLC is the successor entity to United Stor-All Centers, Inc., which was headed by Manley and Arthur “Buzz” Victor, II, and boasted an impressive track record of development and ownership in the industry. Victor now serves as special consultant and advisor to United. He is widely recognized as an industry leader and market maker, and is the author of Self Service Storage: The Handbook for Investors and Managers, the authoritative source for self-storage management and valuation.

Mansur & Company is a privately-held real estate investment company which invests in and develops commercial real estate for its own account and provides a full range of real estate investment banking services to domestic and international investors. Headquartered in Chicago, the firm operates nationally and has broad experience with all types of institutional-grade property. Mansur & Company’s acquisitions total $2.5 billion and include office buildings, regional shopping centers, apartments, industrial parks and hotels.

E. Barry Mansur is Chairman and controlling shareholder of the company as well as CEO of Mansur Capital Corporation, which is involved in various investment banking activities including corporationorate acquisitions, venture capital, merchant banking operations and investment and money management.