Colliers Chooses 71 South Wacker, Opening New Showcase Office
Hyatt Hotels Corp. left a big hole in 71 South Wacker when it left late last year for 150 North Riverside, one of the West Loop’s new trophy towers. But Irvine Co. has made tremendous progress filling in that 230K SF, and it just got another feather in its cap.
Colliers International | Chicago moved its downtown operations into approximately 17K SF over the weekend. The customized space draws from both open and traditional planning models, and like many top real estate firms that make such a move, Colliers will use its new office as a showcase.
“As we educate our clients on the more efficient use of space and its importance for successful recruitment and retention, we need to show we’re good at it,” Colliers’ Executive Managing Director Jim Carris said. “Our new office shows we take our own advice.”
Hyatt's exit left the 1.5M SF property, which opened in 2005, 33% vacant. But Irvine responded by spending $15M on improvements, and a series of new leases indicates sufficient demand exists to absorb the empty spaces left when companies move west of the Chicago River into trophy towers like 150 North Riverside or River Point at 444 West Lake St.
Recent additions to 71 South Wacker by Newport Beach, California-based Irvine include The Exchange, a gathering place with WiFi-enabled workspaces; the TapRoom, a self-pour bar with coffee, beer and wine; a chef-driven café; KINETIC, a new fitness center; and a soon-to-be-delivered conference center.
Crain’s reported last week that seven firms, including Benesch Law, EVRAZ North America and Columbia Threadneedle Investments, had signed recent leases at 71 South Wacker totaling 218K SF. That did not include Colliers' move, and with other vacancies those seven leases represented a net gain of 175K SF. Including other leases earlier this year, Irvine officials said the building is 86% occupied.
Colliers will keep its suburban Rosemont office, where the industrial, supply chain logistics, investment services and office leasing groups sit. The downtown office now houses Colliers’ international valuation and advisory services, along with the Chicago office advisory group and corporate solutions teams, which consolidated from 200 South Wacker Drive and 227 West Monroe.
The company’s clients played a key role in the move. Colliers formed two task forces to collect ideas about office design, one for what employees needed, and another for what clients needed.
“This is a place they can call home as well,” Carris said.
Some preferences, such as a sustainable office with a lot of natural light and fresh air, along with a variety of workspace options, were put forward by both groups.
The building’s LEED Platinum status was a factor in its favor.
The new space includes client workspace, an open café-style break area with moveable furniture, wellness rooms, which can also function as mother’s rooms, 83 workspaces, of which 55 are workstations, and 28 private offices.
“We recognize that open-plan workplaces are not a one-size-fits-all solution to office space,” Carris said. “Comfort was essential but so too was creating an environment that people are excited about. For our team, that meant designing a variety of space options to satisfy our employee’s various business needs.”
Colliers also brought on what it calls an ambassador, rather than a receptionist. That will ensure clients will have someone to help arrange transportation, lunches or tickets to shows.
“We’ve created the feel of a high-end hotel.”