Boeing last week made it official: Its Arlington, Virginia, campus will serve as its company headquarters. While that’s good news for the Washington, D.C. region, it’s more bad news for Chicago.
The aerospace giant moved its corporate headquarters to Chicago in 2001, moving into 100 North Riverside Plaza in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. Four years later, Boeing bought this 36-story, 770,300-square-foot tower from the Florida State Pension Fund for $200 million, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In a press release, Boeing said that will it maintain what it called a signifiant presence at its Chicago location. No one, though, knows exactly how much of a presence that will be.
The move comes during a challenging time for Chicago’s office sector, especially in the downtown area. Like in most big cities across the country, Chicago’s office sector is in flux. Companies are still determining what their future office needs will be, with many still debating whether to bring their employees back to the office on a full-time basis or instead operate with a hybrid schedule.
Colliers reported last month that in the first quarter of this year, the office vacancy rate in the Chicago CBD jumped to 19.7%. That’s up from 17.9% at the end of 2021.
Some of this vacancy was the result of 2.2 million square feet of new office construction delivered during the quarter. Of this amount, 1.3 million square feet was vacant and available at delivery.
In its release, Boeing said that it has put into place flexible and virtual solutions that have allowed the company to reduce the office space it needs. Boeing isn’t alone in this: A growing number of companies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have reduced the amount of office space they need.
“In today’s business environment, we have adopted a flexible work strategy in parts of our company and are taking steps to be more efficient within a reduced footprint. This helps us channel investments toward our critical manufacturing and engineering facilities and training resources,” said Dave Calhoun, president and chief executive officer with Boeing, in a written statement.