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Morgan Stanley Finalizing 125K SF Lease At Willis Tower

Willis Tower, Chicago
Willis Tower, before Blackstone Group and Equity Office launched a $500M renovation plan

Blackstone Group and Equity Office's leasing momentum at Willis Tower continues. Morgan Stanley is close to finalizing a 125K SF lease at Chicago's tallest building, Crain's Chicago Business reports. This would be the largest lease at Willis since Blackstone Group and Equity Office announced a $500M capital improvement program last February.

Morgan Stanley will move to Willis in mid-2019 from its longtime home at 70 West Madison. The financial services firm also has offices at 440 South LaSalle and 227 West Monroe, and is evaluating its option to terminate the LaSalle lease.

Equity Office has signed some high-profile leases since the renovation plan was announced. ESD signed a 47K SF lease and will move in this June. Convene signed a 55K SF lease, its largest office footprint outside of New York City. Law firm Schiff Hardin signed a lease extension and will consolidate its footprint to 181K SF. And the National Restaurant Association is moving its Chicago operations to Willis Tower.

Willis was 90% occupied before news of the Morgan Stanley negotiations broke, and the lease will help maintain momentum once the renovations move to the upper floors. Blackstone Group is at work on retail improvements at Willis, adding 300K SF of new retail, dining and entertainment options. Shake Shack already signed a 3K SF lease.