The New Gold Coast is on Wacker Drive.

At least, that’s the case according to an article in the Chicago Tribune, which pegs Wacker Drive as the 17th most expensive street in the country on which to rent Class A office space. So, if you work in a building on Wacker, you just added one more item on your list of small things to be proud of. The average rate was listed as $37.87 per square foot, with some properties soaring as high as $53.30 per square foot.
That price point might seem high, but it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Wacker Drive hosts a wealth of properties right next to the Chicago River, providing it with some of the most scenic urban landscapes the city has to offer. It’s also an architectural landmark, nestling timeless classics like the Jewelers’ Building at 35 East among modern-day corporate trophy pieces that serve as home to swathes of law, technology, and financial firms. Combine the prime location with soaring demand for new buildings close to the train systems, and the prices become self-explanatory.

Life is good on Wacker Drive. Especially compared to Silicon Valley, where some properties, like those on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California, boast astronomically high rent rates, the average clocking in at a whopping $114 per square foot. So when it comes to the average bang for your buck, Chicago is a great place to rent.
But how about buying?

Unsurprisingly, buy prices across the state are in lock-step with the economy at large, and that makes this one of the best times in recent history to buy commercial property.
Just consider the numbers. In 2008, Class A office space in Chicago was selling for $190 per square foot. Prices bottomed out at around $115 in mid-2014, and now, in 2015, rates are back up to $122.92 per square foot, a 4.9% increase over the last 3 months, and of 2.2% YOY.

The same goes for industrial properties, which hit their peak in Chicago in 2009 at $85 per square foot. Those plummeted as low as $50 per square foot after the recession, and are back up to $53.48. Again, the upward trend is indicated. That’s an increase of 5.1% in the last 3 months, and of 0.8% YOY due to an unexpected dip in 2014.

What does it all mean? The best time to buy is now. Actually, scratch that – the best time to buy was probably yesterday. True, rates are nowhere near the peaks they received around the time of the recession, but they’re back on the rise. And if the current trends are any indication, they’ll only continue to go up, regardless of whether you’re sitting on Wacker Drive.