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How A Developer Transformed A Windowless Room Into A Penthouse Amenity Complex

12th floor spec suite at 303 East Wacker

Not so long ago, exciting, unique office design was only associated with edgy-but-upscale tech startups.

Today, employees across all industries are demanding dynamic workspaces that cater to both work and play. As unemployment rates remain low, companies are being challenged to meet these worker expectations to attract and retain talent. 

Beacon Capital Partners, an office investment and management company, is doing everything it can to help businesses tackle this challenge. The company recently transformed four major Chicago office buildings at 1 North Dearborn St., 231 South LaSalle St., 330 North Wabash Ave. and 515 North State St., and is now embarking on a dramatic $37M capital improvement program at 303 East Wacker Drive in the East Loop.

“Younger employees have changed the way workplaces function and are driving office location decisions,” Beacon Capital Partners Vice President Kevin Boraca said. “Throughout our portfolio, we see an increasing number of employers looking for ways to accommodate the needs and desires of their employees, by providing natural light, fresh air and an intimate, comfortable environment in a well-located neighborhood.”

Unobstructed view of Lake Michigan from 303 East Wacker

Beacon acquired the 30-story, 944K SF building at 303 East Wacker in 2018 and is starting the renovations with the top floor. It's a windowless mechanical space that the company is converting into a penthouse-quality amenity center with views of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, Navy Pier and Chicago’s historic architecture. 

The redesigned space will feature a tenant lounge with floor-to-ceiling operable windows where employees can collaborate with colleagues throughout the day or host events in the evening. Tenants will also have exclusive use of the fitness center with top-of-the-line equipment, Peloton bikes, free daily workout classes and personal training. 

“Most buildings make their penthouse level exclusive space for one single tenant,” said Nikki Kern, a senior vice president at The Telos Group LLC, the leasing agent for the project. “What sets this project apart from the rest of the pack is that all tenants at 303 East Wacker will be able to enjoy the benefits of a penthouse and a top-tier amenity center at the same time, making it the perfect place to connect in the workplace."

A rendering of tenant lounge space at 303 East Wacker

The renovation plans do not stop with the penthouse floor. Beacon is reimagining the lobby, adding coffee, food and cocktail service to the northwest corner of the building, as well as an illuminated core wall with dynamic lighting.

The goal, Beacon Managing Director Greg O’Neal said, is to create spaces that foster a sense of community and connect employees within and between companies.

“This area will be a breakfast and lunch destination during the day and transition to a cocktail service at night,” O’Neal said. “It’s just one more way we’re anticipating the needs of our tenants and their employees and creating distinctive spaces for people to build relationships before, during and after the workday.”

A rendering of new tenant fitness center at 303 East Wacker

Four spec suites at 303 East Wacker offer prospective tenants a sense of how their space could look from day one. The suites, ranging from 4K SF to an entire 33K SF floor, offer companies the option of a turnkey office space fully furnished, ready for immediate move-in, or inspiration to build out the space to meet their own specifications.

“Just steps from Chicago’s Riverwalk, 303 East Wacker provides a perfect template to create a truly distinctive workplace and tenant experience,” O’Neal said. “Its first-class amenities and beautiful Chicago views provide an excellent backdrop for businesses that demand state-of-the-art offices to help them attract top talent.” 

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Beacon Capital Partners. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.