Savills completed a long-term lease restructuring and renewal for the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM). The global architecture firm will occupy 55,988 square feet in the Railway Exchange Building, located at 224 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago’s East Loop.
Savills vice chairmen Robert Sevim, Eric Feinberg and Joe Learner represented the company in negotiations. Gary Kostecki and Mark Georgas of JLL represented ownership, the University of Notre Dame’s endowment fund.
“SOM was looking for a more modern and efficient layout that reflected the firm’s design philosophy, occupancy objectives and operational needs,” said Sevim. “While other locations and solutions were considered, the Railway Exchange Building offered the architectural significance, favorable terms and conditions and planned property upgrades that made it the optimal choice for our client.”
SOM has been a tenant in the building for nearly 28 years and will continue to occupy floors 5, 9 and 10 of the 17-story, 378,600-square-foot, mixed-use office tower. The new agreement allows the firm to fully renovate its remaining space with an enhanced layout and modern design. SOM will utilize its current footprint and additional swing space to accommodate its 400 employees during the buildout.
“Staying in our current location and optimizing our workplace was the best outcome for us,” said Jonathan Stein, AIA, managing partner, SOM. “The Railway Exchange Building has been our home and has supported our operational needs for many years. The solution structured by Savills secured an improvement allowance that made the vision for our space a reality. Now we can build a physical environment that promotes culture, collaboration and innovation, and we couldn’t be more pleased.”
Founded in Chicago in 1936, SOM is one of the world’s most renowned architecture firms. Highlights include projects such as One World Trade Center, Willis Tower and Burj Khalifa. The Railway Exchange Building was built in 1904 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building, known for its terra-cotta façade and rows of bay windows, recently debuted a new fitness center and announced new retailers and planned upgrades to the bathrooms, hallways, lighting and security. The property faces Lake Michigan and offers proximity to public transportation, retail shops, restaurants and some of Chicago’s most iconic attractions.