Avison Young has completed four lease transactions totaling approximately 42,000 square feet of space at the newly renovated and repositioned 1 South Wacker Dr. in Chicago. The leases include an almost full-floor lease for Avison Young’s Chicago region, which has seen significant growth since its entry into the Chicago market in 2009. The 1.2 million-square-foot building is owned by Harbor Group International LLC.
Michael Curran, Brad Despot and Eric Myers, all Avison Young principals, and Vice President Annie Welsch in the Chicago office, are the exclusive leasing agents for the building and represented Harbor Group in the transactions.
Curran attributes the activity to the new ownership’s commitment to creating a Class A working environment throughout the building. “The work that Harbor Group has done in the comprehensive repositioning of the building demonstrates its commitment to Chicago and, more importantly, the tenants of the building,” he said.
Avison Young has relocated and expanded its Chicago office space to almost an entire floor, 22,000 square feet, on the 30th floor. The firm moved from approximately 12,000 square feet at 120 N. LaSalle St. in the Central Loop. The firm has seen significant growth in recent years and recently added six highly regarded office tenant representation brokers in the Chicago region.
The new brokers include industry veterans Mark Robbins, Chris O’Leary and Jeff Lindenmeyer, who moved from Cushman & Wakefield, joining as principals; and Michael Hull, who moved from MB Real Estate, joining as a principal. In addition, Jordan Mellovitz, joined as a Senior Associate, moving from Cushman & Wakefield. Justin Decker joined as an Associate. All will be working on office tenant representation.
In the 1 South Wacker Dr. location, Avison Young provides leasing, capital markets, and property management services across a wide spectrum of property types and locations. Avison Young also has an office in suburban Rosemont, to serve the needs of suburban clients.
The 40-story building was designed by Helmut Jahn and purchased by Harbor Group International LLC, in 2012. The ownership has invested $15 million in an extensive renovation and repositioning to increase the building’s visibility in the marketplace and add amenities that cater to today’s tenants. Occupancy has increased to approximately 89 percent from 80 percent when Harbor acquired the building.
The Avison Young leasing team also completed the following three transactions totaling nearly 20,000 square feet at 1 South Wacker Dr.:
• Chicago Fundamental Investment Partners, a financial services firm, leased 6,800 square feet. The firm moved to the building from a neighboring Wacker Drive property. • Stout Risius Ross, a law firm that had occupied a full floor in the building has expanded by 7,300 square feet for a total of 32,000 square feet. • Kutak Rock LLP, based in Omaha, NE, renewed its lease for 5,800 square feet on the 20th floor. The law firm represents governmental entities in the area as well as many major national and regional banks and investment banking firms.
Current available space in the building starts at 2,000 square feet; the largest contiguous block of space available in the building will be 54,000 square feet as of March 1, 2015, but the Avison Young team continues to experience great activity and expects additional deals to close by year-end.
The renovations focused on creating a more open, vibrant entrance to the building, including redesigning the exterior plaza, gutting and rebuilding the lobby and dramatically increasing the natural light flow into the building. A state-of-the-art security station also was added.
The building’s mezzanine level and second floor were extensively renovated to add a 30,000-square-foot co-working lounge and conference center, managed by Serendipity Labs. The building is the first Class A Chicago office building to incorporate a full-service shared workspace and conference center for its tenants and the public.
“I have been involved with the property for more than 10 years and am impressed by the transformation brought about by Harbor Group,” Curran said. “Their investment to transform the lobby and add important building amenities has had an immediate impact on the rent growth, leasing velocity, and, most importantly, the overall tenant experience.”