Category Archives: Office Leasing

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

Where to snag Class A space at a $20 PSF discount

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Class A

On the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we’re here with an office space discount you have to see to believe. In the last five years, the gap between top-tier downtown and suburban space has dramatically widened, creating interesting opportunities for occupiers looking for luxury.

Since 2012, Class A rents have increased just 7.4 percent in the suburbs, compared with more than 27 percent downtown. For even the smallest tenants, this represents six-figure savings that could be reallocated to other business priorities, from talent retention to technology upgrades.… 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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Retail therapy draws tenants to suburban Class A product

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Shopping on your lunch hour never gets old. Especially in the suburbs, where the live/work/play perks of urban density are in short supply. Suburban malls offer the opportunity to run errands during lunch, while also conveniently supporting a wide array of business amenities such as restaurants and event space for everyday meetings and larger corporate gatherings.

Across suburban Chicago, Class A office properties within a mile of a major mall are outperforming their competition in three out of four major suburban submarkets. While the area around Woodfield Mall appears to be flagging, JLL Research attributes that to Zurich’s relocation and expects occupancy to soon mirror the strength of its peers.

suburban ChicagoRead More

This office will make you drop everything and move to the suburbs

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The suburban office market is changing in response to two notable trends. While many corporate users have vacated their longtime campuses for the allure of the live/work/play life downtown, others are recommitting to the suburbs and collaborating with creative landlords.

Click below for our Project Profile on Innovation Park, Lake County, where industry meets inspiration.

Innovation Park

When office park innovator BECO Management acquired the former Motorola Mobility campus in Libertyville in 2014, it fused both trends, creating an urban environment within a suburban landscape. After buying at a low basis and kicking off a large-scale redevelopment, the D.C.-based investor recently chose JLL to market Innovation Park, Lake County.

BECO built it, and we’re making sure they come. As dozens of brokers tour the property each month, the most common reaction is “I had no idea.” With services from meals to daycare and fitness to laundry, employees never have to leave. The productivity implications are profound. Nowhere else can your day include an on-site massage, team bonding in the game room and soaking up sun on the bike path. We’re telling a singular story, and two major tenants have already signed on: Valent Biosciences (98,000 s.f.) and Brightstar (65,000 s.f.).

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Commuting in the suburbs: A SWOT analysis

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In a market as large as suburban Chicago, getting to work can be around the corner or a major undertaking. Our Research team recently completed a suburban SWOT analysis, determining the top three modes of transportation used to get to the office in each submarket. Roll over each submarket below for the details.

Strength: Public transit

Public transportation, from the L to the Metra, has been a boon to several… Read More

Culture commandments from Google, Paylocity, ABT and Andigo

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“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” –Peter Drucker

As the nature of work continues to change dramatically, the technology available to us, services we offer our employees and the spaces we create are evolving as well. A focus on experiences is driving the future of workplace culture, which was the topic of conversation last week at the Schaumburg Business Association’s Commercial Real Estate Summit – The Future of Work.

Our own Senior Vice President Mark Kolar and National Workplace Consulting lead Ed Nolan hosted a panel of workplace experts from both established and rapidly growing buzzworthy brands: Google HR Business Manager Jacky Schiestel; Paylocity VP of Human Resources Jay Schedler; ABT Electronics Co-President Mike Abt; and Andigo COO Jean Theis. Enjoy their culture commandments as inspiration to make bold changes in your own workplace.


JLL’s Adam Pines and Mark Kolar; ABT’s Mike Abt; Andigo’s Jean Theis; Paylocity’s Jay Schedler; JLL’s Ed Nolan; SBA’s Kaili Harding; and Google’s Jacky Schiestel

Just say yes

ABT doesn’t have an employee manual, but for more than 80 years and three generations, the founding family has been instilling a culture of “yes.” Employees quickly learn to take on any reasonable request from a customer, which infuses the store with positive energy and optimism.… Read More

NAFTA’s unexpected impact on Illinois

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Representatives from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. recently entered into the fourth round of negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement. While interests are wide-ranging and competing, the major focus has been on “rules of origin,” which look at the location breakdown of where products are manufactured to determine trade statistics, procurement and preferential treatment.

As negotiations continue, the State of Illinois, its economy and its real estate could be affected in good, bad and surprising ways:

The singularity is near


While some argue that the U.S. has lost 350,000 manufacturing jobs since 1994 due to trade with Mexico, others note this decline started well before NAFTA began. Tracking employment against manufacturing output is the most telling, as we’re seeing a sharp increase in productivity, despite fewer jobs. The answer: Robots and automation are making U.S. manufacturing more efficient. It’s not “Westworld,” but maybe it’s not far off..

Illinois is increasingly exposed

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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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Solar eclipse markets outperform national averages

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Chicago may not fall in the path of totality on Monday, but we’re still excited to witness this historic solar eclipse. In anticipation, we reviewed office vacancy rates and rent growth in “eclipse markets” and were impressed to see most markets outshining national averages.

solar eclipse

Dig into our latest Chicago market office stats here.

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

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

Top 10: Stop hating Mondays, your happiness at work matters

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Human Experience

Yesterday our Suburban Tenant Representation team hosted a webinar exploring the Future of Work and how Human Experience plays a critical role in shaping a productive culture. In other words, it pays for your company to invest in your satisfaction.

“Understanding real estate’s financial and operational performance is now table stakes,” said JLL Managing Director Ed Nolan. “How people feel about work plays a key role in promoting engagement, empowerment and fulfillment at the office.”

In the midst of tenants’ intense focus on reducing gross rent and utilities costs there lies a missed opportunity to harness human capital.

“Even minor improvements in employee productivity and retention can spur double-digit savings in costs per square foot and strategically drive real estate decisions,” said JLL Managing Director Ben Erskine.

Our top 10 webinar takeaways, based on 18 months of JLL research:… 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

Spotlight on Schaumburg: Strong and steady wins the race

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JLL’s Northwest Market leasing and research teams: Adam Pines, Christian Beaudoin, Mark Kolar and Jack Trager

Suburban Chicago office may be the tortoise, not the hare, from the old fable, but the market is steadily trending up with healthy fundamentals and tenant demand. More than 50 suburban business leaders joined JLL, the Schaumburg Business Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, along with additional sponsors Andigo, the Village of Schaumburg, CP Apparel and Guaranteed Rate, last week to discuss the local commercial real estate climate and the impact of economic conditions on the Northwest suburbs.… Read More

Chicago office market thriving despite budget impasse

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Authors: David Barnett, Research Analyst, and Hailey Harrington, Research Manager

budget impasseThe downtown Chicago office market recorded record-high rents and vacancies at or near all-time lows in 2016. The city is a robust tech hub, bolstered by an extensive transportation network and proximity to one of the busiest airports in the world—connecting Chicago with other U.S. and foreign markets. Unemployment continues to diminish as graduates from nearby top-tier universities enter the local workforce in a diversified economy. Despite this economic growth, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois continue to grapple with the budget crisis.… Read More

JLL Celebrates Earth Day 2017

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Every year on April 22, we all get a little nudge to pause and celebrate Earth Day. Not only does the day serve as a reminder to consider our individual footprints, but it also encourages us to think about the environmental impact of our buildings and communities.

The built environment accounts for nearly 40 percent of carbon emissions annually in the United States, which means the real estate industry can play a significant role in reducing the impact of climate change. At JLL, we are committed to delivering sustainable solutions that improve energy and resource efficiency, as well as ensure safe, healthy and productive workplaces.

In celebration of this year’s Earth Day, our Health Champions have partnered with Building a Better Tomorrow, our firm-wide sustainability program, to organize green and healthy activities with JLL offices across the United States. Take a look at our Earth Week social media highlights across JLL offices and managed buildings below!

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