Contact Us

EXCLUSIVE: WiredScore Ramping Up Chicago Presence With New Market Leader Christine Torres

WiredScore, the property tech company that created the international rating system for technological capacity in office buildings, is aggressively expanding outside its New York home base and has its sights set on Chicago. WiredScore hired Christine Torres, a former vice president at Colliers, as its Chicago market head and she knows there is a huge demand for connectivity.

“The reality of today’s office environment is every company has some tech capacity — everything is connected. As a former tenant rep, the first question I always got after touring office space was, ‘is there fiber in the building?’” Torres said.

WiredScore Chicago Market Leader Christine Torres

Torres cut her teeth as a tenant rep at Colliers and MB Real Estate before joining WiredScore. She said she understood the WiredScore concept immediately and her experience as a tenant rep can help her bridge the gap between what companies are looking for in connectivity and how developers can meet those needs in both ground-up developments and repositionings.

Torres said Chicago is primed to become a robust market for WiredScore. To date, 19 properties in Chicago totaling 22M SF of commercial space have achieved Wired Certification. The city has a solid tech presence and is well-connected. Chicago’s aggressive bid to land Amazon’s second headquarters has attracted national attention, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has pushed to rebrand Chicago as a future home for tech firms, regardless of what city Amazon chooses. Beyond increasing the number of Wired Certified buildings in Chicago, Torres said WiredScore wants to be the go-to resource for local policymakers and developers looking to address the gaps in connectivity in their assets, and attract Fortune 500 companies to Chicago.

“Chicago is a robust market and we’re looking to scale up in the coming months,” Torres said.

WiredScore CEO Arie Barendrecht and McCaffery Interests President Ed Woodbury at Bisnow's Chicago Construction and Development event.

WiredScore CEO Arie Barendrecht said Torres is the perfect person for the job. He said Torres' experience as a broker gives her a deep understanding of the market, and her being a former tenant rep helps WiredScore promote directly to developers the impact of its programs on tenants.

“For WiredScore, it is about assuring we tailor our approach to the market to address changing dynamics. Chicago is constantly evolving, and having someone experienced is important,” Barendrecht said.

Barendrecht said Torres is someone the Chicago real estate community knows and trusts to give good suggestions and ideas for improving the connectivity of their buildings.

“We want to be good partners with our clients. When talking with people in the scene, I’ve found they trust her as a friend and adviser. Every time I've walked between meetings, she's said hi to someone on the street who works in real estate,” Barendrecht said.

150 North Riverside's cantilevered base is one of its most distinctive design features.

Part of WiredScore’s mission is to future-proof new developments, which means working early with developers and contractors to create digital master plans for new developments. More local governments are encouraging developers to plan around digital design early in the construction process. Torres said WiredScore works with schematics with developers and contractors in the planning stages of construction to anticipate immediate demand and the rapid pace of change in tech and connectivity.

“On the development side, we’re planning for a 10-15-year lead time, looking for redundancies in connectivity and planning for 5G in mind,” Torres said.

Barendrecht said developers have come to understand they cannot take shortcuts to a building’s digital master plan. When cost-cutting decisions were made in the past, tech was one of the first things on the chopping block. Developers like Riverside Investment and Development have recognized the need to invest early in connectivity and now want best-in-class properties from a connectivity standpoint. Riverside’s 150 North Riverside was Platinum-certified by WiredScore for its connectivity, and 110 North Wacker, which Riverside is developing with The Howard Hughes Corp., is aiming for Platinum certification.

Wrigley Building

The push for better connectivity has trickled down to some of Chicago’s major repositionings. The Wrigley Building, which Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto agreed to buy for $225M this week, is WiredScore Gold certified. Willis Tower recently received Platinum certification.

“There is a misconception that modern structures have the most updated amenities. There are challenges to bringing better connectivity to older buildings from a cost standpoint, but the cost is worth the reward,” Torres said.