A published report today says the New York-based pension fund TIAA-CREF has signed a contract to buy the 283-unit Park Evanston apartment tower at 1630 Chicago Ave.

Chicago Real Estate Daily says the purchase price is over $100 million, which it said would likely be the highest price ever paid for a suburban apartment building.

The seller, Chicago-based developer John Buck Co., built the 24-story high-rise, which opened 10 years ago, and the adjoining real space, including the Whole Foods Market at Chicago Avenue and Church Street.

Assuming the sale goes through, it would mean a half-million dollar boost to the city’s budget from real estate transfer taxes on the transaction. It would also tend to diminish concerns about the condition of Evanston’s downtown real estate market.

The Park Evanston reportedly was placed on the market in September, with the owner then hoping to realize about $100 million from the sale.

City officials have said they believe the sale will lead to a reassessment of the property that could substantially increase revenue from it to the city and to local schools.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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