Chicago Association Of Realtors Cuts The Ribbon On Its New Offices
The Chicago Association of Realtors started 2017 in new offices inside the Realtor building at 430 North Michigan Ave. CAR held a ribbon-cutting yesterday to christen the new offices and CEO Ginger Downs (who was also celebrating her birthday) gave Bisnow a tour of the 15k SF space.
Downs (shown in her corner office) said CAR's lease at 200 South Michigan expired this month and she knew new offices were necessary to address the growing needs of the organization's members. CAR started the site selection process two years ago and toured 29 buildings before whittling the choices to three finalists. The Realtor building won out because of its location and the synergistic possibilities of being in the same building as the National Association of Realtors. CAR took over the former space of the CCIM Institute, which moved one floor below.
Downs said the lead designer, Gensler, separated the new offices into three distinct sections to accommodate the needs of CAR members, staff and students attending Realtors real estate school. Between 8,000 and 10,000 students take courses in the offices annually and three new classrooms will address growing numbers in the future. The classrooms have writable walls and soundproof baffles for separation and take full advantage of daylight, something Downs said was lacking at CAR's former offices.
The classroom section also feature private testing rooms monitored by CCTV, to observe if any students are cheating on their tests.
The Staff Offices
The staff offices have a more traditional design with an emphasis on wellness. Every desk is sit-stand so CAR employees can move during the day, while senior staffers have their own glass-enclosed offices. Huddle rooms capable of fitting up to six employees were built to facilitate private and work-related conversations away from the main offices.
The Membership Area
Downs said CAR's new membership section was designed with comfort and networking of the organization's dues-paying members in mind. The area features a conference room that can be separated from the lounge area. This section also has smaller huddle rooms and private telephone booths for members to do work while they are visiting the office.
Now that the new facility is being broken in, Downs said she can focus on planning the National Association of Realtors convention in Chicago this November. This will be the first time since 2001 that NAR has held its convention here, and Downs wants to show members that Chicago is a vibrant real estate market. The NAR convention is the last major undertaking for Downs before she retires next year.