4000 W. Diversey, via Loopnet

When you visualize the key spots on the Chicago tech map, you picture the Merch Mart, home of 1871, Motorola, Braintree, and Rise Interactive, or the Civic Opera House, which holds Tech Nexus and the ITA, or the spacious lofts in River North or the West Loop.

Basically, you picture buildings that were once known for one thing – fashion, music, meatpacking, etc. – and have since been converted into hip, tech-friendly properties.

And as the Chicago tech economy keeps thriving and growing, this trend is only going to continue. So, what existing, stale buildings in the city will be the future homes and hubs of the industry?

This week, specialists at Colliers International, a leading commercial real estate company, identified five areas that have already started attracting the attention of the city’s burgeoning tech sector.

“Developers in markets that include Chicago’s Fulton Market and Goose Island as well as other parts of the City are seeking and acquiring existing buildings and land in an attempt to stimulate these rapidly emerging submarkets,” said Stephanie Bujwit, Senior Financial Analyst, Colliers Chicago. “The proposed new and repositioned assets are abundant enough that it wouldn’t be illogical to consider each of them their own emerging submarket.”

The five areas that Colliers has their eyes on to be the next Merch Mart are:

Image via Colliers International

The Fields: The former home of the Marshall Field & Company, located at 4000 W. Diversey, is currently under construction and is being converted into high-tech loft offices. The development, which is being run by Merit Partners, has 450,000 square feet allocated for for office space and another 200,000 square feet for retail.  The building is scheduled to be completed by February 2016.

Finkl Steel Site: This 3.24 acre property, located at 2044 N. Dominick, was recently purchased by Sterling Bay. Though no plans have been released, Colliers says that any new building would not have to be rezoned if a “tech user” were to occupy it.

R2 Goose Island: Goose Island has long been rumored to be Chicago’s next major tech hub – with many referring to it as Innovation Island – and R2 Companies is currently working on office and retail developments totaling 700,000 square feet.

Fulton West: This building, located at 1330 W. Fulton, won’t be available until April, 2017, but Sterling Bay and Skender Construction have already signed two leases for tech offices, one for 40,000 square feet and one for 30,000 square feet. The development will feature 290,000 square feet of office space, a roof deck, and shuttle service.

Tribune Distribution Center: The Chicago Tribune’s old distribution center, location at 700 W. Chicago, is “being redeveloped to a 4 building office, residential and retail campus.” Situation near Halstead and Chicago, the property will have easy access to both the West Loop and River North neighborhoods.

(Images via Colliers International)