Category Archives: Downtown

The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago’s next era as a hospitality landmark

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The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago’s thoughtful, two-year transformation was planned as a tribute to the city of Chicago, bringing the outside in and celebrating the city’s long history as an architectural innovator. With this guiding principle, the JLL project management team undertook a complex modernization with an eye on both ownership’s interests and a luxury customer experience.

Click below for our Project Profile on The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, a hospitality icon that’s inspiring life’s most meaningful journeys.

The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago

Project scope included a new lobby, bar, cafe, restaurant, ballrooms, meeting rooms, guestroom suites (plus eight luxury apartments) renovation, corridors, club lounge, spa, fitness center and pool, along with mechanical central plant upgrades. One of the team’s most important tasks was the structural modification necessary to open up views in the public areas, the most visible way to elevate design and comfort for the Ritz-Carlton’s next phase of success.… Read More

Top 10: Finding quality labor during a workforce shortage

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At a recent NAIOP Chicago event, the topic wasn’t real estate; it was labor. February saw the highest monthly level of job creation since mid-2016 and unemployment sits at just 4.1 percent as skilled talent becomes increasingly difficult to recruit and retain.

labor

JLL’s Meredith O’Connor and Keith Stauber

“Job growth continues rapidly even with talent shortages and employment occurring faster than the labor force can expand,” said JLL Managing Director Keith Stauber, moderator. “These trends also mirror consumer confidence, which has been at its highest levels since 2000.”

Greater competition for labor has pushed occupiers to look at long-term workforce productivity and sustainability (including metrics like net migration and population growth) rather than short term affordability.

The NAIOP panel of experts featured JLL International Director Meredith O’Connor, Co-Chairman of JLL’s Headquarters Practice Group and a Business and Economic Incentives lead. Her top 10 takeaways:… Read More

Getting to know Meredith O’Connor

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Thanks to her innate talent, drive and uncompromising work ethic, Meredith O’Connor is without equal in the city. Her secret superpower? She’s a connector. By building relationships with likeminded and equally motivated individuals, no matter their career or industry specialization, she’s built a business to be reckoned with and lifelong friends along the way.

A key player in helping corporations uncover often overlooked business and economic incentives, Meredith’s work continues to change skylines and bolster economies across the country. Let’s take a look at how it all began.

Meredith O'Connor

Meredith and her family of seven

Career beginnings

Government was the perfect start for Meredith, doing great things for the city she grew up in and loves. After she got her MBA, she was promoted from sergeant at arms in the City Council into the Planning Department. Under the inspiring leadership of Mayor Daley and in partnership with a team passionate about economic development, she jump-started her career working on exciting projects from the ’96 Democratic National Convention to the 2016 Olympic bid.… Read More

Chicago 2025: In the shared economy, do you know who your customer is?

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Spoiler alert. In the shared economy, everyone’s customer is the end user. The knowledge worker, the talent, the Millennials, whatever you want to call it. At Chicago 2025, JLL Chicago’s marquee event held earlier this month, we heard from some of the industry’s top thought leaders on how they’re navigating the shared economy’s major changes to the way we operate.

shared economy

Panelists John Gavin, Andrea Zopp and Chris Kelly

The No. 1 thing tenants talk about is talent, said World Business Chicago president and CEO Andrea Zopp, which is positive news for Chicago. We’re drawing college graduates at a higher rate than our comparable cities because people are looking for quality of life, affordability and a wide variety of housing options to evolve in an urban environment. And what talent wants is driving both major business decisions and major municipal ones, like Chicago’s investment in Divvy, our bike share program. All employers want is the ability to compete, and Chicago’s diverse economy, connectivity, access to transit, and quality of neighborhoods are all formidable tools for their arsenal. Expect forward-thinking initiatives like the planned express train to O’Hare to go a long way in attracting and retaining our major corporate occupiers.… Read More

Q1 2018 Office Insight: A tale of two markets

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office insight

Q1 2018 stats for the Downtown Chicago office market

Two roads are diverging in Chicago, as evidenced by first quarter’s mind-boggling 35.2 percent spread between Class A and Class B asking rents downtown. While the triennial property tax assessment pushed landlords of choice properties to raise rents to record highs, they’re controlling the sticker shock with substantial concession packages.

Tenant improvement allowances are up by an average of 33 percent in the CBD over the past five years, something “that’s really moving the needle for tenant decision,” JLL Managing Director of Research Christian Beaudoin recently told Crain’s Chicago Business.

Construction costs rose 3 percent last year, there’s more than 7 million square feet of product under construction and landlords are competing aggressively to land tenants. These factors are fueling tenant demand for TI dollars, which will be applied toward building out creative, highly amenitized spaces in configurations ranging from traditional to progressive (like GGP at River North Point).

While financial services and law firms are shedding excess second generation Class A space, those vacancies continue to be offset by suburban relocations (including McGraw-Hill and AdTalem Education), particularly to the West Loop. Leasing activity has already reached more than 45 percent of last year’s total volume, a roaring start to the year bolstered by the urban migration trend.… Read More

Chicago 2025: The world will never move this slowly again

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Hundreds of industry leaders joined JLL Chicago to discuss Chicago 2025 and the shared economy. Transforming industries and challenging traditional business models, shared economy giants from Uber to WeWork have also become daily staples for all of us.

Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly, co-founder and president of Convene, a New York-based “workplace-as-a-service” platform and provider that expanded into Willis Tower last summer, kicked off the big event with a keynote. We’re on the cusp of a new paradigm, which will redefine the form and utility of office buildings. Seeing as office building design hasn’t changed since the turn of the century, the shared economy lifestyle is posing unique challenges for developers and owners alike.

The world will never move this slowly again. Knowing that two of the world’s largest economic forces, the shared economy and technology, have yet to make their mark on real estate’s dominant design, Chris shared some key predictions in building the office towers of the future:… Read More

How to boost rent by $7 p.s.f. and improve your golf swing

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Just six months after acquiring the 1970s-style Class B property at 222 South Riverside Plaza in 2014, ownership kicked off a transformational renovation with the close involvement of JLL’s agency leasing, project management and property management teams. The project has already experienced tremendous success and is poised to add value to ownership’s investment long after its 2017 completion.

Click below for our Project Profile on 222 South Riverside Plaza. The West Loop tower’s $50 million renovation was featured in the Chicago Tribune and continues to make a major impact on tenant renewals and rental rates.

222 South Riverside Plaza

In a strategic re-use of formerly obsolete space, the team chose the back of the lobby for the new tenant lounge, as the former ground-level retail was not a desirable location for a tenant. The multi-disciplinary JLL team played an integral role in shaping plans and facilitating efficient, clear communication around the specs and schedule of construction.… Read More

Inside Chicago’s $80 billion manufacturing industry

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manufacturing

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

multifamily

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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mHUB

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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budget

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