JLL’s Guide to Open House Chicago 2015

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Thousands upon thousands of architecture buffs and urban explorers will descend upon the city this weekend for the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago, which offers behind-the-scenes access to 200 buildings across the city on Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm.

JLL Chicago is proud to have five of its buildings under management participating in this free public festival. Enjoy this handy guide to our buildings and get to know each property’s general manager along the way. Hope to see you there!

Aon Center
General Manager: Matthew Amato

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How long have you worked at your property? How long have you worked in the industry?
I have worked at the Aon Center for more than eight years and been in the industry for 25 years. I celebrated my 20-year anniversary with JLL earlier this year.

Describe a “Day in the Life.”
A “Day in the Life” and what I love about Property Management go hand in hand. Every day can present a new challenge. Of course, there are daily, monthly and annual tasks and responsibilities to perform. However, the interaction with clients, tenants and visitors as well as managing the challenges of a 43-year old iconic building is what I love about property management. The entire team is very proud when we look at the skyline of this great city and see the Aon Center, knowing we have the responsibility of managing it. Every person on the team including engineers, janitorial staff, security staff, the management team, carpenters, electricians, painters, landscapers and elevator technicians, contributes to the success and beauty of the Aon Center. Leading a great team of people is incredibly rewarding.

What do you enjoy about property management?
See above.

What do you love about your building? Fun facts, historical info, design features, favorite spaces, etc.
I love that it is truly an iconic building in the City of Chicago. Originally built by and for the Standard Oil Company, it stands tall and prominently in our skyline. In the early ‘90’s the building was reclad with 44,000 pieces of North Carolina Mt. Airy Granite replacing the original marble cladding. The building stands 1,136 feet tall and is situated on a 3.74 acre site. Aon Center is the home of the annual Step Up For Kids stair climb (1,643 steps) benefitting Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. It is headquarters to some of the most globally and nationally recognized companies including Aon, JLL, KPMG, Microsoft and soon, Kraft Heinz. I have a number of favorite spaces including the rooftop, the boiler room, which is the heartbeat of the building, and the beautifully landscaped plaza.

What can visitors expect to see and explore at your property during Open House Chicago?
Visitors will be able to look out 360 degrees for an unparalleled panoramic view of the City of Chicago from the 71st floor of the Aon Center. Artwork from Jaume Plensa, Joe Walters and Wesley Kimler will also be on display in the building’s lobby.

Why should they make visiting your building a priority?
A magnificent building overlooking Lake Michigan, Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park in the heart of the East Loop should not be missed.

231 S. LaSalle
General Manager: Hal Lusk

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How long have you worked at your property? How long have you worked in the industry?
I have worked at 231 S. LaSalle for eight months and have been in the industry for 26 years.

Describe a “Day in the Life.”
There definitely is no typical day in the life. Each day is different but I always start out by looking around the outside and lobby areas to make sure everything is looking good for the start of the day. Then it’s on to meetings with staff and tenants regarding building issues. Other tasks might include talking with some of our service providers, monitoring any construction activities in the building and reviewing financial performance reports.

What do you enjoy about property management?
I love that every day is different and you’re always kept on your toes when something new comes up.

What do you love about your building? Fun facts, historical info, design features, favorite spaces, etc.
I love the historical significance of the property and walking through some of the old spaces. 231 S. LaSalle was built on the site of the old Illinois Trust and Savings Bank, which was demolished after a blimp crashed into the building in 1919. The crash led to the closing of the Grant Park airstrip and the creation of the Chicago Air Park now known as Midway Airport. My favorite space is the safe deposit vault with its 30,000 safe deposit boxes. The brass doors to all 30,000 boxes were removed when the bank moved out of the building.

What can visitors expect to see and explore at your property during Open House Chicago?
Visitors can enjoy the tenant lounge and rooftop patio deck on the 23rd floor, which offers great views of the surrounding buildings. The main safe deposit box vault on the building’s lower level will also be open.

Why should they make visiting your building a priority?
It’s a unique opportunity to visit one of the oldest buildings in Chicago’s financial district, steeped in Chicago history.

Tribune Tower
General Manager: Al Gienko

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How long have you worked at your property? How long have you worked in the industry?
I’ve been on the job at Tribune Tower for about four weeks after a stint managing 111 W. Jackson. I’ve spent 26 years in real estate and property management. I bought my first property in 1989.

Describe a “Day in the Life.”
I get in by 7am and take a look around—see what email came in, what’s on my calendar, etc. I usually go through a series of meetings with contractors, tenants and the asset manager, talk to engineering and see what we have going on in terms of capital projects and preventative maintenance. My day begins and ends with people and my job is to make sure that everyone is excited, and meeting their goals and expectations. I’m best at managing people and that’s my No. 1 job.

What do you enjoy about property management?
It’s something different every day and I’ve been preparing for it since childhood. My mom says that as a baby, I’d sit for hours with my building blocks building little structures. Not long after, as a child, I built a city within my model railroad. I’ve always loved building things and I have a passion for architecture and great design. I could tour buildings all day.

What do you love about your building? Fun facts, historical info, design features, favorite spaces, etc.
The Crown, a breathtaking rooftop veranda and event space on the Tribune Tower’s 25th floor. In addition to spectacular architecture, this iconic building’s rich history is an integral part of our city’s history. I learn about more secrets and special places in this building every day, like Colonel McCormick’s trap door and secret hallways.

What can visitors expect to see and explore at your property during Open House Chicago?
A world-class example of Neo-Gothic architecture. Visitors will be able to explore our grand front lobby. I recommend spending time reading the quotes engraved on the lobby walls, all made by significant historic figures with great vison.

Why should they make visiting your building a priority?
It’s unlike any other building in the city. Just look at the 100-plus stones embedded in its facade, all pieces of significant architecture from across the globe. You’ll find pieces of the Parthenon, the Great Wall of China and the Alamo, and we’re still collecting. Just a few weeks ago, we had stones installed from Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park.

224 S. Michigan
General Manager: Denyse Pins

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How long have you worked at your property? How long have you worked in the industry?
JLL took over the assignment in June. I began my real estate career in 2001 in brokerage. Shortly after, I was presented with a great opportunity in property management. I jumped at the chance and have enjoyed it ever since.

Describe a “Day in the Life.”
Busy. 224 S. Michigan is active. From what I’ve experienced, the tenants have a special passion for this building. It was designed by Daniel Burnham and we house some of the world’s finest architects along with the Chicago Architecture Foundation. It’s a privilege to work here. The tenants are hands-on and it truly makes for fun, fast days. A day in the life consists of a multitude of things. From working with a graduate school on coordinating their schedules to spending many hours on the roof for our roof replacement project to evaluating our energy usage for Retrofit Chicago–we don’t stop!

What do you enjoy about property management?
No two days are the same. I love that each building has a life of its own. Buildings have a culture, a demeanor and a history. It’s an honor to be a part of such a special building as 224 S. Michigan. It will long outlive me, yet I have the opportunity to make my mark on this historical landmark and take care of it so many generations to come can cherish it.

What do you love about your building? Fun facts, historical info, design features, favorite spaces, etc.
This building was originally known as the Railway Exchange Building, built in 1903. Daniel Burnham’s design for the building was based upon a square floor plan with an open light court. A translucent glass skylight illuminated an elegant lobby decorated with mahogany, brass and marble. After the building was built, Burnham moved his offices to 224 S. Michigan. It was here that he drafted the Chicago Plan!

What can visitors expect to see and explore at your property during Open House Chicago?
224 S. Michigan houses some of the world’s finest architects. We are so proud that four of our tenants have an active role in Open House Chicago. SOM, VOA, Goettsch and CAF all call 224 S. Michigan home.

Why should they make visiting your building a priority?
There’s a reason the world’s best architects love this building. Please come see why!

Prudential Plaza
Assistant General Manager: Izzie Bakopoulos

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How long have you worked at your property? How long have you worked in the industry?
I celebrated my one-year anniversary at Prudential this past September. I’ve been in the industry for seven years.

Describe a “Day in the Life.”
The words that come to mind: exciting, different, surprising, always changing. To adapt Forrest Gump’s famous line—property management is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.

What do you enjoy about property management?
You get to touch all different aspects of working in a building—accounting, contracts, operations, meeting planning, tenant coordination, etc. There are so many people to work with, from contractors to vendors to tenants, and no day is ever the same. I love getting out there and meeting everyone, working on events and making people smile. Everyone has to go to work every day but what’s neat with our team is we get to mix it up. Up next, we have plans to give out 3,000 Taffy Apples while dressed up in Halloween costumes!

What do you love about your building? Fun facts, historical info, design features, favorite spaces, etc.
Our 11th floor roof deck, just opened, is spectacular. We’ve been doing lots of events up there and tenants enjoy it during lunchtime and at the end of the day just to relax. The whole floor is a beautiful space, including a tenant lounge and fitness center. I also love our brand new lobby and can’t wait to fill it with holiday decorations. I’m proud to work at such a big (2.2 million sf), iconic building on an all-star, 10-person team.

What can visitors expect to see and explore at your property during Open House Chicago?
Our new 11th floor amenity space. Fun fact, when Prudential was first built in 1960, two guys scratched their names into the concrete thinking nobody would ever see them. Now that exposed concrete and open ceilings are en vogue, they’re famous and their names are on display!

(Note: Prudential is only open 9am to 1pm Saturday, CAF Members Only)

Why should they make visiting your building a priority?
The forecast is sunny and clear, making it the perfect day for our new roof deck and tenant lounge, complete with an outdoor fire pit and indoor fire place to stay warm in this brisk fall weather. Enjoy the forward-thinking architecture and design in Prudential’s updated spaces, including the massive media wall in our Randolph lobby with Chicago footage created just for our building. Don’t forget your Selfie Stick for the best selfies in the city featuring the skyline, Millennium Park and Lake Michigan.

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