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Suburban Firms' Space Decisions

Chicago Office

The only question harder than soup or salad: own or lease? For suburban companies, the wind isn’t blowing just one way and there are many factors to consider.


DTZ VP Adam McCostlin and AVP Jordan Decker just repped the American Association of Insurance Services in an HQ relo from 30k SF of owned space (above, it occupied half) at 1745 Naperville Rd in Wheaton to 11,500 SF of leased space at 701 Warrenville Rd (below) in the Arboretum Lakes office Park in Lisle. After an own vs. lease study (much more involved than a pro/con list, or our preferred decision method: blindfolded darts), the team determined AAIS’s best bet was to sell their building and build-out new, more efficient, and culture-focused space. As a smaller user, it didn’t make sense for AAIS to own, and inventory wasn’t there for an upgrade, Adam says.


What’s dictating own vs. lease decisions in the ‘burbs today: size, efficiency, new management, and downtown migration. Some companies have opted for a satellite office downtown, but AAIS’s employee base kept it in the ‘burbs, Adam tells us. To show how subjective these decisions are: Just as AAIS went from own to lease, a user/occupier bought its old facility, moving from lease to own. NAI HIffman’s Patrick Kiefer and Jim Adler repped the landlord, Milbrook Properties, in the AAIS lease; about 55 employees will move in this August.