Category Archives: Workplace Strategy

American Academy of Pediatrics’ new headquarters of the future

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Since the American Academy of Pediatrics’ headquarters opened more than 30 years ago, the organization has experienced unprecedented growth. Membership has grown by more than 250 percent to 66,000 members, and total staff has increased from 125 to 455 people. AAP tapped JLL in early 2014 to craft a strategic real estate plan for its new “headquarters of the future.”

Click below for our Project Profile on AAP,  an organization committed to the optimal physical, mental and social health and wellbeing for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

American Academy of Pediatrics

We explored expansion and restacking AAP’s existing Elk Grove Village building, purchase of a new building and a ground-up build-to-suit. After touring downtown and suburban sites, it became clear that a build-to-suit was the best choice for AAP’s unique needs. Hamilton Lakes Business Park in Itasca offered proximity to AAP’s valued employee base and future expandability.

As owner’s rep, we facilitated the acquisition of the land site, due diligence and entitlements, as well as the hiring of all project partners. The team worked through the approval process with the Village of Itasca regarding site layouts and engineering, traffic impact and local intersection improvements to help traffic flow.… Read More

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

Thinking outside of the ‘green’ box

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sustainabilityAuthor: Keara Fanning

When it comes to sustainability, companies and landlords need to start thinking outside of the ‘green’ box in order to attract new occupiers in a tightening market. After all, sustainability isn’t just about the environment anymore. It’s also about health and wellness, which is why more and more building owners are looking to add amenities such as fitness centers, bike racks and showers within their facilities, as well as to integrate health and wellness measures into the design of their buildings. However, landlords need to be thoughtful about how they tackle the demand for building amenities, as the added electricity alone can greatly increase the budget, with electrical making up nearly a third of total renovation cost.

There are many pros to adding wellness focused amenities within your building, whether included in ground up construction or through renovation:… 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

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

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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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

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

Prevent hacker disaster at your property

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hacking data breach

In the wake of this month’s global cyberattack, perpetrated by ransomeware called WannaCry, companies around the world are strengthening their efforts to secure their data and avert costly breaches.

A growing wave of malicious attacks have cost major retailers, banks, insurance companies and more billions of dollars in lost business, stock value, legal settlements, data recovery and security costs. Hackers continue to find new and unexpected virtual “back doors” to enter, and one of the latest concerns is commercial real estate.

“Hackers have and will infiltrate building systems, from the lighting to the HVAC to modems and routers,” said JLL Managing Director Steve Pollard, leader of the Multi-site Project and Development Services team. “Fortifying these systems needs to be a top priority for commercial real estate executives and IT professionals.”… 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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Women’s History Month: Being bold for change at JLL

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women's history month

Women’s History Month originated on March 7, 1982 as Women’s History Week. In 1987, Congress passed the first joint resolution to designate March as Women’s History Month. Leading up to International Women’s Day on March 8 and beyond, JLL Chicago came together to celebrate and speak out.… Read More

Getting to know Steven Spinell

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A lifetime committed to becoming a professional hockey player taught Steven Spinell the value of hard work, time management and teamwork. Coming from a real estate family opened his eyes to the endless opportunities for success in the industry.

After bonding with fellow Miami of Ohio alum Ben Erskine on JLL’s Suburban Tenant Representation team, Steven joined as Associate in 2016, focusing on companies in the North Market as well as national business development for JLL’s Build to Suit Practice Group. “It’s unbelievable how much detail goes into the build-to-suit process. Through years of experience and high-profile projects, John Musgjerd and Ben Erskine have mastered all the moving parts,” said Spinell.

Steven Spinell

Typical day: I’ve transitioned from a team support role to being the boots-on-the-ground guy. I focus on business development, primarily in the North Market under Dan McCarthy‘s guidance, as well as pursuing build-to-suit opportunities for our practice group. You’ll find me on the phones prospecting, working on financial analyses and providing transaction support.

The 411 on JLL’s Build to Suit Practice Group: Build-to-suit projects are tremendously risky and complex.… Read More

O’Hare submarket cleared for takeoff

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Author: Ryan Emerick
O'Hare submarket

While much of the local spotlight has focused on the migration of large firms from the suburbs to the urban core, downtown is not the only thriving submarket. Strong tenant demand has also sparked a dwindling supply of office space in the O’Hare submarket. Vacancy rates near O’Hare have dropped from a high of 26.9 percent to 16.4 percent and are now at their lowest levels since 2000.… Read More

Chicago 2025: Dynamic Expansion

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Chicago 2025

JLL’s Bruce Miller; GLP’s Paul Loosmann; Magellan’s David Carlins; JLL’s Dan Ryan, Ryan Severino and Meredith O’Connor; Oxford Capital Group’s John Rutledge; and The John Buck Company’s Dirk Degenaars at Chicago 2025: Dynamic Expansion.

Hundreds of industry leaders joined JLL Chicago last week to discuss Chicago 2025 and the city’s dynamic expansion. With 4,300 new hotel rooms planned, the lowest office vacancy in 16 years (10 percent), 4 million square feet of speculative industrial construction in the pipeline and 3 million square feet of office space headed to market, the next decade is going to be one for the books.

JLL Chief Economist Ryan Severino kicked things off with a broad-based market outlook, factoring in challenges of the past year from Brexit to an unexpected election result. Despite entering a 2017 filled with elevated policy uncertainty, the Chicago market’s universal truths are bolstering its investment appeal. Chicago’s still the third-largest metro economy in the U.S., with above average annual gross metro product growth and a diverse economy where no single industry comprises more than 20 percent of total employment. Going forward, our unusually high percentage of adults with undergraduate or graduate degrees will be of paramount importance in building on this economic momentum.


JLL’s Chicago 2025 gallery wall, featuring the market’s hottest projects.

We’re definitely living in interesting times, agreed JLL International Director and panel moderator Bruce Miller. … Read More