The 500 Davis office building in downtown Evanston has sold for $32.35 million — 80 percent more than it was purchased for two-and-a-half years ago.

Cook County property records list the buyer as a joint venture of Northbrook-based investor Randy Rissman and CBRE Chairman Bob Wislow.

Seller Steelbridge Capital had paid just $18 million for the property in May 2016. It had previously sold for $14.9 million in 2014 after falling into foreclosure after a 2007 sale for $21.7 million.

Chicago Business reports that Steelbridge was able to dramatically raise rents from around $30 per square foot to the point where its now getting around $45 per square foot for its most attractive spaces.

Current listings in the building show asking rents between $46 and $50 per suare foot.

The CBRE brokerage firm says Evanston’s office market has just a 6.2 percent vacancy rate, just one third of the 18.8 percent average for Chicago’s suburbs and less than half the 13.4 percent vacancy rate in downtown Chicago.

Last April the Orrington Plaza building downtown changed hands in a deal that valued it at $91 million, up from the $61.5 million it previously sold for in 2013.

Those sales may help answer questions about whether developers will be able to fill the proposed new 13-story office building at 1714 Chicago Ave. when that project comes up for a second session before the city’s Plan Commission next Wednesday night.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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