Merchandise Mart evolves from trade shows to tech

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Once the world’s largest structure with its very own zip code, the Merchandise Mart has transformed into the beating heart of Chicago’s tech scene. From 1871’s fledgling firms to giants like Yelp and Braintree, the Mart is a retro-chic playground for today’s tech elite.

The Mart’s foundation as a tech epicenter started in the 1980s, when ownership launched a $100 million modernization of the building’s lobby, façade and most important, major upgrades to utilities, JLL Senior Research Analyst Hailey Harrington told Bisnow.

With this tech-savvy foundation, it was time for a new story around the historic property. Instead of a laser focus on its showroom space, ownership began promoting the building’s affordable office rents, proximity to public transportation and uniquely large floor plates.

The big bet paid off—view the Mart’s office space and rental rate increases in our infographic below. Even corporate giants, from ConAgra to Beam Suntory, have taken notice of the building’s Millennial appeal, solidifying its status as Chicago’s headquarters destination.

Merchandise Mart

For more information on tech trends, please contact:
Sam Kennedy 
Hailey Harrington
@JLLChicago

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