Category Archives: Downtown

Inside Chicago’s $80 billion manufacturing industry

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Welcome to Episode 13 of Real Time, JLL Chicago’s industrial podcast. In the second half of this two-part episode, the team chats with mHUB CEO Haven Allen about Chicago’s local manufacturing ecosystem. With 14,000 establishments already employing more than 400,000 people, there’s opportunity everywhere. We explore how mHUB and its partners are:

  • Building a community of manufacturing innovation talent
  • Providing those people with opportunities to grow their ideas with local resources
  • Creating the conditions for product innovators to survive and thrive in this industrial revolution
  • Sparking industry collaboration that accelerates the introduction of sustainable new product businesses

Hosted by: Industrial market research experts George Cutro and Chad Buch

Listen to this podcast with the player above or click here.

Listen to Part 1 here.

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4 multifamily takeaways from NMHC

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If record attendance at the National Multifamily Housing Council’s Annual Meeting was any indication, the multifamily asset class is more desired than it has been in decades and fundamentals are strong. Rates and supply concerns aside, there are some simple truths to the industry. Our growing population, from Millennials to Boomers, has a growing preference toward renting, whether that’s due to student debt or being burned during the last downturn.

Here are some key takeaways formulated on the hustle between the Waldorf and Hilton towers:

Blurred lines: Core-plus is the new value-add


After two flaming-hot years, value-add has become so overheated that investors are looking at core-plus deals, where a newer vintage with less work means a measurable pop in yield. Equity capital chasing these deals are allocating larger percentages of their funds for acquiring multifamily.

Why are these typically conservative owners taking a harder look at older product (even eight-foot ceilings?!) in secondary and tertiary markets? The ongoing need for workforce housing. A huge mass of renters will never be able to pay luxury, Class-A rents, and you can’t build affordable housing with today’s soaring construction costs.… Read More

mHUB CEO Haven Allen talks manufacturing innovation

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Welcome to Episode 12 of Real Time, JLL Chicago’s industrial podcast. In the first half of this two-part episode, the team learns more about mHUB, Chicago’s first innovation center for physical product development and manufacturing. As mHUB approaches its one-year anniversary celebration in March, CEO Haven Allen reflects on:

  • Creating mHUB to cement Chicago’s status as an advanced manufacturing hub
  • Finding mHUB’s home in River West
  • Attracting and developing talent for Industry 4.0
  • Early success stories, like Fixer

Hosted by: Industrial market research experts George Cutro and Chad Buch

Listen to this podcast with the player above or click here.

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Recorded at: Coda Room Audio
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Why tech employers are freaking out about the Chicago market

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tech employment

While unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks is a universal truth at any Olive Garden, an unlimited supply of engineers is not a guarantee in a hot tech market like Silicon Valley. That’s why the most agile and bottom-line-minded tech firms have turned to Chicago to find their next tech talent, whether their need is a half dozen or several hundred of the best and brightest.

“We want to tap into the Chicago market. We’re excited about the tech talent there—the new grads, people returning home because it’s such a livable city,” Foursquare senior vice president of engineering Matt Kamen recently told Crain’s Chicago Business.

While Foursquare is starting to hire just a half-dozen engineers locally, enterprise demand for its location data underscores a high-growth and more diversified future for the New York-based business. Foursquare looked at other up-and-coming markets, from Toronto to Austin, but we can guess one big reason Chicago won—tempered wage growth.… Read More

This is what happens when office space imitates art

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Donna Mondi had a vision for her 16-year-old interior design firm—a new office and showroom that would bring her team under one roof and reflect their design sensibilities and expert capabilities. Her unexpected inspiration? The industrial chic office set from The Intern, a 2015 comedy starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway.

Enter JLL. “I know that property,” said Christine Bower, Vice President on JLL’s Tenant Representation team.

Click below for our Project Profile on Donna Mondi Interior Design, creator of spaces that are edgy yet sophisticated, modern yet classic, sexy, dynamic and most of all— unpredictable.

Donna Mondi

It wasn’t in River North, where Donna originally wanted to be, and there was no Starbucks in sight (a necessity for Donna and her team). We encouraged Donna and her husband Dominick Mondi, President of Mesirow Financial, to take a look. They took a tour and fell in love. It wasn’t the center of Fulton Market, but it checked every other box.

Knowing the Mondis’ interest in acquiring an income-producing, value-add property, we quickly facilitated the sale for $1.8 million (fortuitously closing the day of the Cubs’ 2016 World Series win). Built in the 1890s, the West Town light- industrial building was a former furniture factory. Donna invested $350,000 to convert the first floor into her company’s new home. The second floor will soon become available for the first time in 20 years, allowing for additional income generation. The space is perfect for a creative tenant craving high ceilings, hardwood floors, original skylights and huge windows.

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Fast facts on Chicago’s educated workforce

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More classes are in session than ever in Chicago. The share of Chicagoans over age 25 with bachelor’s degrees or higher leapt from 29.3 percent in 2006 to 36.4 percent last year, with the sharpest increase starting in 2011. That share is significantly higher in the CBD, with nearly 80 percent of the population holding undergraduate and graduate degrees.

educated workforce

Chicago’s hike was larger than any of the country’s four other most populous cities—New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Philadelphia—and more than twice the 4.3 percent national increase.

educated workforce

Let’s look at some major demographic forces at play in the development of the CBD’s well-educated, diverse and skilled labor force.… Read More

JLL’s Guide to Open House Chicago 2017

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Open House Chicago 2017

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 more than 250 buildings across the city on Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm.

JLL Chicago is proud to have eight of its buildings under management participating in this free public festival. Enjoy this handy guide to our buildings and get to know a member of each management team along the way. Hope to see you there!

AMA Plaza – 330 N. Wabash
General Manager: Susan Hammer

Open House Chicago 2017

How long have you worked at your property? How long have you worked in the industry?
I have been a property manager for more than three decades. I’ve spent the last 14 years at AMA Plaza.

Describe a “Day in the Life.”
Each day is different with new opportunities, including solving tenant needs, responding to client requests, financial reporting and accountability, overseeing major repair or capital projects, supervising service providers and creating a supportive and dynamic environment for members of the management team. We have a complex business and operational relationship with The Langham Chicago, housed on the first 13 floors of the building, and that has led to some interesting experiences. For example, several pop and rock bands stay there, and hundreds of people are suddenly waiting on the plaza for a sighting. We have had to sneak a couple of groups through the dock because of that.… Read More

Overheard at NAIOP CRE Converge 2017: Top trends and takeaways

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We were on the scene at NAIOP CRE Converge today, and the common theme was the inevitability of technology and its increasing influence on the commercial real estate industry and beyond. In addition to a podcast recap from our hosts of Real Time, JLL Chicago’s Industrial podcast, we’ve pulled together top future-state tech trends.

Listen to this podcast with the player above or click here.

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Autonomous vehicles

How will autonomous vehicles impact parking requirements and more fundamentally, how we view space? With blockchain technology and macro integration of data, we will be able to view individual properties and sections of cities and towns. Consider the city a body and all the external factors (autonomous vehicles, social norms, etc.) organs. In order to understand how the body functions, you need to have a grasp on each organ and how they interrelate, and technology will help us do that. Eventually that will lead to smarter decision-making when constructing, leasing, managing and selling.… Read More

Headquarters quiz: Five clicks to your new crib

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Since 2008, downtown Chicago has attracted 88 suburban and 13 out-of-market companies, of which 32 have been headquarters relocations. If your company is thinking of making the move or you’re just curious about new neighborhoods, take this headquarters quiz and land on the best submarket for your team!


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Attaining Triple Aim: How healthcare can leverage real estate

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triple aim

In today’s capital-constrained environment with shrinking reimbursements from insurance companies, health systems are rethinking their business models by rethinking their real estate footprint.

“Bold, sweeping changes are a mandate for today’s health systems,” said JLL Senior Managing Director Greg Gerber. “Especially in competitive markets with numerous high quality systems vying for market share and operating at a high complexity level.”

Created by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in 2008 as a roadmap toward value-based care, the “Triple Aim” has three mandates: improving patient experience, improving health of populations and reducing per capita cost of care. We explored the challenges, opportunities and surprising role real estate plays in each area with our Healthcare Practice Group.

Improving patient experience

In an outcomes-driven, performance-based reimbursement model, patient experience is critical and convenience is key. Locating facilities “closer to home” for patients is a surefire way hospitals can expand patient access and optimize their real estate footprint, reinvesting the savings in their core services.

“On the hospital campus, you’re talking about high-cost acute care. By taking healthcare into the community, you are reducing costs and making it easier for patients to stay proactive and healthy,” said Senior Vice President Sarah Cogswell.… Read More

Why move your headquarters? Top CEOs speak out

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While corporate real estate strategies are definitely one-size-fits-one, headquarters relocations seem spurred by surprisingly similar reasons. We wouldn’t call this kind of groupthink a bad thing, rather a natural reaction to a global demographic shift. You can’t ignore more than one million people moving into cities every week.

We analyzed the corporate press releas es associated with Chicago’s 32 headquarters relocations since 2008, paying close attention to quotes from each CEO. These leaders have waxed philosophic, strategic, straight up practical and everything in between in their commentary, offering a glimpse into larger pushes for organizational change and innovation.

Our word cloud above sizes words based on how frequently they’ve been used by CEOs. Roll your mouse over each word to see a sample quote and we’ll dig into the top reasons for moving below.… Read More

Budget backlash for Illinois industrial? Nope…

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Welcome to Episode 6 of JLL Chicago Industrial – Real Time, our Industrial Research podcast. In this episode:

  • Sure, taxes are up, but there are more positives than we think
  • Illinois isn’t the only state grappling with significant long-term obligations
  • Investors can’t ignore Chicago’s universal truths as the nation’s transportation hub, second-largest industrial market by square footage and largest inland port

Hosted by: Industrial market research experts George Cutro and Chad Buch

Featuring: Research and economics pro Christian Beaudoin

Listen to this 10-minute podcast with the player above or click here.

Know someone who’d like to listen? Post to LinkedIn.

Interested in hearing more industrial real estate insights? Listen to all podcast episodes here.… Read More

The MTV Generation grows up: Generation X as CEO

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“A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself.” –Ferris Bueller

Generation X grew up unsupervised, independent and decidedly anti-establishment. This small, often overlooked cohort entered the corporate world with little fanfare but a wildly different attitude, shirking preconceived notions of work and traditional business dogmas.

Bringing an entrepreneurial mindset to Corporate America has been a major Gen X contribution, bolstered by fluency in technology, prioritization of work/life balance and a fierce pursuit of individuality. Now entering the leadership roles of the C-suite, this generation is the innovative force behind today’s workplace trends—especially their companies’ defining headquarters moves.… Read More

Cracking the code: Find your tech talent in Chicago

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Looking to snag a computer programmer on sale? Chicago should be your startup’s tried and true market of choice, given its status as the rare, affordable, large urban market.

“Competition for tech talent, as well as good plug-and-play tech spaces, is fierce,” said Jesse Van Dyke, Managing Director and co-lead of JLL Chicago’s Technology Practice Group.

tech talent

Concentration of employees working in the computer field

The market’s tech ecosystem can be the best indicator of potential job growth and industry stability. Consider planting your tech flag in Chicago, a great location at a great price:… Read More

The Illinois Budget Challenge: Your questions, answered

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Yesterday in Springfield, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to override a veto by Governor Bruce Rauner and to pass a budget that includes spending reductions and state income tax increases. This measure gives the State of Illinois its first formal budget in three years.

The good news

Passage of this budget provides some level of certainty for the companies and individuals that have been delaying decisions based on the state’s spending and taxation proposals. It also provides rating agencies with a better understanding of the state’s plan for meeting its financial obligations.

The tax news

Effective July 1, 2017, individual income taxes will rise from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent. Corporate income tax rates will increase from 5.25 percent to 7 percent. These increases represent a 33 percent jump in personal and corporate income taxes for Illinois residents and companies.

What will happen to the commercial real estate market in this new environment?

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Chicago Property Tax Update: What you need to know

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On June 13, 2017 the 2016 property tax rates, calculated by the Cook County Clerk’s office, were released. This is the final step in the tax process before bills are mailed. The average City of Chicago residential taxpayer should expect to see a roughly 10 percent increase in their property tax bill and commercial property owners (or their tenants) should expect an increase of approximately 9.3 percent in their property taxes.

property tax

1. Average composite tax rates are shown. Actual tax rates may vary. 2. Tax bills based on an average commercial property with a market value of $270,000. Actual tax bills will vary. Source: Cook County Clerk David Orr. Memo dated June 13, 2017.

Tenant implications

While this tax increase was not unexpected, commercial property owners and tenants should be prepared for the implications on their expenses this billing cycle.… Read More

Evolution of the Legal Workplace

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DLA Piper’s David Mendelsohn, Managing Partner, has a message for all the law firms out there looking to revamp their space: “Do not hold back. Be as creative and bold as your firm’s culture allows you to be.”

legal workplace

DLA Piper’s David Mendelsohn said if you want employees to be productive, it’s about starting with clear objectives, knowing what you want to accomplish and then staying committed to those objectives every step of the way.

While the traditional office sector has been at it for years, law firms are beginning to see the value in modernizing their space to stay competitive and attract top talent. With the help of JLL’s Law Firm Practice Group, DLA Piper did just that.

Earlier this year, DLA left its home of nearly 30 years, 203 N. LaSalle, and made its way to River Point, the gleaming 52-story office tower perched at 444 W. Lake overlooking the Chicago River. The move symbolized the global law firm’s commitment to focusing on its people and creating a productive work environment.

So how can other firms like DLA use their real estate to engage and retain employees and remain competitive?

JLL dove into this discussion recently inside DLA’s brand new office and in front of an audience of nearly 100 of Chicago’s law firm leaders.… Read More

CTA’s L turns 125: Where to eat local and celebrate

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This week marks 125 years of service for the L, Chicago’s iconic elevated railway that began running in 1892. To mark the occasion, we chatted with Lauren Smith, Senior Analyst on JLL’s Public Institutions team, about her team’s retail leasing work with the Chicago Transit Authority and the best places to pick up a snack along the transit system.

JLL’s Public Institutions team has worked with the CTA since 2008, providing a wide range of real estate services, including managing the CTA’s retail leasing program. Recently, the CTA has seen a welcome uptick in interest from hyperlocal retailers that are making significant investments into their CTA spaces and adding variety to the retail program.

“The retail environment of the CTA is nothing like traditional neighborhood retail. Much of the customer base consist of commuters quickly passing through,” Smith says. “A lot of people are looking to grab a quick cup of coffee or a bite to eat on the way, though we are seeing more sit-down restaurants and cafés come into the program.”

Since the transit retail environment is so unique, with spaces ranging from smaller subway kiosks to larger street-level storefronts and some stations see more than 3 million annual riders (7 million at the Lake Red Line station), rents for CTA retail spaces have a wide range and typically diverge from the surrounding retail market.

Some of the latest delicious additions to CTA’s retail spaces:… Read More

Chicago’s pledge to honor the Paris Agreement and fight climate change

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Today Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed an executive order committing the city to the Paris Agreement sustainability guidelines. This builds upon Chicago’s bold pledge to transition to 100 percent renewable energy in city buildings by 2025, marking a major leap forward from the largest city to set such an ambitious goal.

Paris Agreement

“It’s a significant statement for a city like Chicago to commit to power all city properties with renewable energy,” says Christian Beaudoin, JLL’s Director of Research in the U.S. “Municipalities are moving in this direction and, at some point in the not-too-distant future, this will be standard for cities across the country.”

How will we pull it off? … Read More

Chicago’s top 5 shopping districts

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Chicago's top 5 shopping districts

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” –Bo Derek

Whoever said that simply didn’t know about prime urban corridors. These nationally recognized shopping districts, both existing and emerging, are propelling brick and mortar retail into the 21st century, featuring high-tech homages to the brands we love and those we’re just getting to know.

Chicago’s top 5 retail corridors cater to a broad audience of tourists and locals, some placing a premium on luxury while others prioritize value and convenience. Just in time for ICSC RECon, we chatted with top JLL Chicago Retail brokers about each corridor’s inner workings.… Read More