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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.

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