BOMA/Chicago Website: One Year Old & Still Your One-Stop Shop for CRE Information

By BOMA/Chicago

2014 BC Website

Can you believe it has been one year since we launched one of our most comprehensive and valuable member resources – the BOMA/Chicago website?

Placing relevant industry information at your fingertips has been our primary objective over this past year. And the stats show that we are succeeding in this goal. Since the new website launched on July 18, 2013, we have averaged more than 10,000 pageviews each month. This means that about 330 of you are visiting our website every day. Analytics also tell us that each of you stay on our website for an average of five minutes.

Based on these stats, we have asked ourselves what drives each of you to the website and keeps you there for precious time during your workday.

And we have a simple answer to this question. The fluid, intuitive design of our website allows you to quickly find the information you need when you need it. And once you find the initial information that brought you to our website, you are then drawn into other related stories and resources that are relevant to your CRE profession. We strategically place related content on the website so that you do not waste time getting answers.

Also – the 24/7 self-service functionality of our website puts the power in your hands and allows you to manage your own information. In fact, when you log into the website, you are given a personalized “My Profile” box on the right-hand side of the screen. This box allows you to complete multiple tasks, from customizing your profile, updating your company information, adding a profile picture, printing your invoices and much more.

Since the launch of the website, we have made several major enhancements based on constructive member feedback. Our biggest enhancement involved redesigning both our Building Member and Find a Service Provider directories. These two directories now allow you to quickly and easily find the contacts you need. Whether you are looking for the primary contact at a downtown building, a specialty matting company, the address of a CRE colleague or a list of HVAC specialists, our directories have you covered. Find out more about these directories by visiting this webpage.

We have also made enhancements to the BOMA/Chicago Job Bank, where you can post a resume, view resumes, post a job and view open jobs. Research shows that between 60% to 80% of new jobs are found by networking, which is why we redesigned this no-cost tool – so that we can help connect each of you with new employment and networking opportunities.

Besides these beneficial upgrades, there are many other helpful features of our website that have been readily available to you since we first launched. Here is an overview of just four of our countless tools that make your fast-paced professions a little easier to manage:

Resource Library
Are you looking for a labor agreement, a Brown Bag application or our 2014 education calendar? The BOMA/Chicago Resource Library houses a comprehensive list of all of the resources and documents you need. Click here to check out the dozens of resources we have available.

Homepage News
We update the BOMA/Chicago website on a daily basis. You can stay on top of all of our updates simply by viewing the “News” column on the left-hand side of the homepage. This News column is a chronological list of webpages we have created or updated. All you have to do is scan through this list to see the latest BOMA/Chicago happenings or news.

Search Box
Looking for information on a specific topic or a resource to help you answer your CRE questions? Finding information on our website is an easy task with our comprehensive search toolbar functionality. Simply click in the toolbar that says “Search” on the upper right-hand corner of the website and type in the key words of the information you need. A complete list of documents, resources and webpages with those key words will display on the next page.

Events Calendar
Are you looking for the next BOMA/Chicago event or educational course? Then all you have to do is visit our homepage and scroll down to the “EVENT” calendar that displays directly in the center of the page (below the “Education” block). Any day highlighted in light blue indicates a BOMA/Chicago event or course. Once you click on that date, you are taken to a webpage that tells you what event/course we are holding. If this is an event/course you would like to attend, simply click on the title again and then press “more” in the pop-up box. You will then be taken to the registration page.

We are always looking for ways to enhance your BOMA/Chicago website experience. Please email if you ever have any comments or suggestions.

How has our new website been a valuable tool for you over the past year? Leave us your comments below.

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CRE News: What We’re Reading the Week of July 14

By BOMA/Chicago

Each week, The Elevator Speech summarizes news related to some of the key industry trends, buildings, deals and dealmakers that shaped headlines. Below are articles that caught our attention the week of July 14.

CBRE Acquires US Equities
CBRE Group, Inc., the world’s largest commercial real estate firm, announced on Wednesday that it acquired US Equities Realty, LLC and that the two companies will combine their Chicago area operations. Under the terms of the agreement, CBRE has acquired US Equities’ national operations along with about 400 of the firm’s Chicagoland professionals who will continue to service their clients under CBRE. The acquisition is expected to boost CBRE’s leasing and management portfolio, as U.S. Equities has maintained desirable leasing and management agreements with prominent Chicago properties, including Willis Tower.

No Mayoral Run for President Preckwinkle
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle confirmed on Tuesday that she will not run for mayor.  Preckwinkle’s decision has left many of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s detractors eager to find a credible candidate to defeat his planned second term in office. According to Preckwinkle, she will not run for Mayor because she does not believe that she has completed all of the responsibilities of her current position. In regards to other challengers to Mayor Emanuel, the bets are high – the latest campaign finance report filed this week shows him with $8.3 million in the bank.

Long-Term Tenant Resigns Long-Term Lease
Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council renewed its long-term lease of nearly 30,000-square-feet at 222 S. Riverside Plaza, where it has resided for several decades. The Council sought other office space in the surrounding area before re-signing, but faced difficulties in finding buildings with large-enough floor plates.

Sterling Bay and J.P. Morgan Partnership
Sterling Bay Companies and J.P. Morgan have formed a strategic partnership to develop the Fulton Market district. The joint venture will involve Sterling Bay making contributions to the Fulton Market assets it has acquired over the past year while J.P. Morgan will co-invest and co-develop the properties with Sterling Bay.

Vacancy Rates on the Decline
In a recent Q2 report, Cushman & Wakefield reported that office vacancies across the country have dropped to their lowest point in five years. This report also states that office vacancies are expected to decrease even more in the coming months. The increase in office demand has caused rents to increase by 3.1% from Q2 of 2013.

What CRE or Chicago news headlines from the past week captured your interest? Leave us a comment and let us know.

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CRE News: What We’re Reading the Week of July 7

By BOMA/Chicago

Each week, The Elevator Speech summarizes news related to some of the key industry trends, buildings, deals and dealmakers that shaped headlines. Below are articles that caught our attention the week of July 7.

Large ROI on Wacker Drive Tower
LaSalle Investment Management has purchased the 24-story office tower located 101 N. Wacker Drive. LaSalle acquired the building from Hines Interests L.P. for $210 million, or about $350 per square foot. This purchase price is approximately 62% more than Hines paid for the building in 2007.

Largest Sale in Chicago History Comes to a Close
Officials from KBS Real Estate Investment Trust II have confirmed that they closed on the sale of 300 N. LaSalle. The sale was first announced back in May of this year. The property has been sold to a Southern California real estate investment firm for $850 million, which amounts to about $654 per square foot. This is the highest amount ever paid for a Chicago office building and was also the third-largest office building transaction in the US this year.

Healthy Move to Superior
GoHealth Insurance, an insurance coverage consultant, has signed a five-year sublease at 219 W. Superior St. The building rises three stories high and totals 42,000 square feet. The lease is for all 42,000 square feet. GoHealth has subleased this space from the previous lessor, Schawk, Inc., who moved out in April 2013.

Occupancy on the Rise at Franklin Center
Retail Finance International Holdings Inc., a consumer finance unit of GE Capital, has signed a lease for 76,000-square feet at 227 W. Monroe St., a tower owned Tishman Speyer Properties L.P and also known as the Franklin Center. The GE unit will relocate from its current space at 500 W. Monroe St., owned by Piedmont Office Realty Trust, in a move that will boost occupancy at the Franklin Center to 89%.

What CRE or Chicago news headlines from the past week captured your interest? Leave us a comment and let us know.

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Broaden Your Industry Leadership by Joining a BOMA/Chicago Committee

By BOMA/Chicago

Do you want to leverage your BOMA/Chicago membership and become more involved in the Chicago commercial real estate market? Supplement your CRE profession and gain a voice and active leadership role in the industry by joining one of our numerous and diverse committees today!

BOMA/Chicago’s 21 committees focus on the three main areas of membership: advocacy, education and networking. While some of the initiatives spearheaded by BOMA/Chicago committees are aimed at offering a more well-rounded professional and social experience for our building and affiliate members, did you know that many committees directly affect your building on a daily basis?

Below are five examples of how BOMA/Chicago’s committees play a vital role in advancing our industry and positively impacting our shared Chicago community:


The BOMA/Chicago Smart Grid Initiative team with our Automated Logic partners.

Finding New Ways to Promote Sustainability
For the past several years, BOMA/Chicago’s Energy Committee has been developing the BOMA/Chicago Smart Grid Initiative, the first of its kind in the U.S. Currently in its pilot phase, the initiative utilizes smart grid and demand respond technology to maximize energy efficiency use in commercial buildings. This groundbreaking program will have dramatic implications for the City of Chicago as well as buildings in other cities across the country and throughout the world.

Analyzing the Economic Impact of our Buildings
BOMA/Chicago’s Information Committee is responsible for all internal and external communications and marketing of the organization. In 2012, the Information Committee commissioned an economic impact study to measure BOMA/Chicago members’ impact on the City of Chicago and take a snapshot of the Chicago commercial real estate industry. The study revealed that BOMA/Chicago members represent a solid footprint within Chicago’s office market (more than 141.5 million square feet of office space) and are a driving force of the state’s economy (contributing $3.5 billion annually).

Keeping Chicago & Chicagoans Safe
Chicago hosts many large-scale events, from music festivals like Lollapalooza to political gatherings of world leaders like the NATO Summit in 2012. When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2013, Chicago celebrated with a massive victory parade that drew an estimated two million attendees. BOMA/Chicago’s Emergency Preparedness Committee is responsible for preparing Chicago building owners and managers for these events, as well as managing communications and evacuation procedures during other emergency situations. BOMA/Chicago remains a key private sector voice on all security matters in Chicago’s central business district.

GCFD_WrapperFeeding the Food Insecure of Chicagoland
BOMA/Chicago regularly partners with the Greater Chicago Food Depository for the 1 City, 1 Food Drive initiative. The Diversity & Corporate Social Responsibility Committee has played an integral role in coordinating event logistics, encouraging BOMA/Chicago members to participate and raising awareness of the drive throughout the city. Since 2008, BOMA/Chicago buildings have raised more than 137,000 pounds of food and have provided more than 100,000 meals to hungry Chicagoans.

Negotiating Labor Contracts on Your Behalf
In a sense, BOMA/Chicago owes its existence to what is today’s Labor Committee. As Bob Quast, BOMA/Chicago’s Treasurer and Chair of the Labor Committee, wrote in last month’s blog post, BOMA/Chicago was founded on the premise of labor negotiations when Chicago’s building owners came together to ensure reasonable labor contracts and negotiations with city unions. And these negotiations continue today, as BOMA/Chicago remains the only local BOMA in the country to negotiate with unions on behalf of its building members.

If you are interested in joining one of BOMA/Chicago’s committees, let us know! All affiliate and building members are welcome to participate. Applications are available online and any questions can be directed to

How have BOMA/Chicago’s committees affected your building or business? Please leave us a message below.

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CRE News: What We’re Reading the Week of June 23

Each week, The Elevator Speech summarizes news related to some of the key industry trends, buildings, deals and dealmakers that shaped headlines. Below are articles that caught our attention the week of June 23.

Rents On the Rise at High-End Chicago Office Towers 
Effective rents at Chicago’s upscale office towers are nearing pre-recession highs. According to commercial real estate services firm Savills Studley, average downtown rents have risen to $9.66/square foot for landlords and $28.39/square foot for tenants. Effective rents factor in additional building costs like property taxes, utilities and tenant-improvement allowances. Several office buildings scheduled to open in the next few years are expected to change the Chicago commercial real estate landscape considerably.

Local Engineering Firm Expands and Renews Lease at LaSalle Wacker
Knight Engineering has renewed its current lease in the LaSalle Wacker Building at 221 N. LaSalle St. The firm expanded office space to a second floor, leasing a total of more than 26,000 square feet. The historic LaSalle Wacker Building was designed by Chicago architectural firm Holabird and Roche (now Holabird and Root) and built in 1930. Knight Engineering is the building’s largest tenant.

Chicago Ranks Third in Green Commercial Space
According to the 2014 Green Building Adoption Index, a new study from CBRE and Maastricht University, 62.1 percent of commercial space in Chicago is certified as green. Researchers analyzed more than 34,000 buildings in the central business districts of the top 30 U.S. markets. Chicago ranked third among competing cities, following Minneapolis and San Francisco with 77 percent and 67.2 percent of green commercial space, respectively.

Debate Over the Location of George Lucas’ Museum Heightens
Moviemaker George Lucas has chosen Chicago as the site of his narrative arts museum, but some Chicagoans argue that the proposed museum violates the landmark Lakefront Protection Ordinance. The proposed 17-acre park site is currently occupied by two parking lots between Soldier Field and McCormick Place. Advocates for the museum argue that it will expand the quantity and quality of lakeshore land, while critics want to preserve Chicago’s historic lakeshore.

250 South Wacker Drive Wins International TOBY Award
Congratulations to the management team at 250 South Wacker Drive, who received “The Outstanding Building of the Year” (TOBY) Award in the 100,000-249,999 Square Foot category from the International Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA International). Award winners were announced at the 2014Every Building Conference & Expo in Orlando on June 24, 2014. 

What CRE or Chicago news headlines from the past week captured your interest? Leave us a comment and let us know. 

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CRE News: What We’re Reading the Week of June 16

Each week, The Elevator Speech summarizes news related to some of the key industry trends, buildings, deals and dealmakers that shaped headlines. Below are articles that caught our attention the week of June 16.

Braintree Plans Expansion Within New Merchandise Mart Headquarters 
Ebay Inc., parent company of credit-card software company Braintree Inc., has announced plans to hire 360 new employees over the next three years. Braintree recently moved its corporate headquarters to a 60,000 square-foot space in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. The hiring spree will result in $12 million in state tax incentives if the company fulfills its hiring pledge.

1871 to Expand Office Footprint by 50 Percent
Entrepreneur and tech incubator 1871 has been awarded a $2.5 million state grant and plans to add 25,000 square feet to current space in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. The expansion will be used to house companies with between 10 and 20 employees. Construction will begin in July, and the new space could be completed as early as October.

Sterling Bay Signs on to Old Main Post Office Redevelopment
British developer Bill Davies has partnered with Sterling Bay Cos. on a $500 million redevelopment of the empty Old Main Post Office in Chicago’s West Loop. The development will include office and retail space within the 2.7-million-square-foot building. The Post Office is rumored to be a potential location for the new Walgreens corporate headquarters.

Willis Tower Hits Financial Turbulence
Owners of the Willis Tower are seeking a loan modification to support recruitment of new tenants. Building spokespeople have stressed that investing in current occupants and attracting new leases will ensure the long-term financial viability of Willis Tower. As of 2013, the 4.6-million-square-foot tower increased its occupancy to 83 percent.

BOMA/Chicago’s June Program Luncheon
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle addressed BOMA/Chicago members during the June Program Luncheon at the Sheraton Chicago yesterday. Preckwinkle focused on budget and pension issues as well as the city of Chicago’s economic development. When asked about her political future, she emphasized her commitment to completing the public health and safety to-do list she created upon being elected Board President.

What CRE or Chicago news headlines from the past week captured your interest? Leave us a comment and let us know. 

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One Voice, Your Voice: Rising to Defeat the Proposed Expansion of SSA #1

By Ron Tabaczynski, BOMA/Chicago Director of Government Relations

One voice in a loud, crowded room can easily be ignored. Its words and opinions can cease to be heard amongst the various other voices vying for attention. But the voice of a collective group speaks volumes and can change the overall course and focus of the room’s agenda.

We are that collective voice, and those of us at BOMA/Chicago welcome the responsibility of using our voice to advocate on our membership’s behalf.  Most recently, we achieved a marquee win for our members by defeating the proposed expansion of SSA #1 and the tax increase that would have accompanied it.

As you know, property taxes have been top-of-mind for all of us due to the Chicago Loop Alliance’s proposed renewal and expansion of the State Street SSA. If you had the chance to read BOMA/Chicago executive vice president Michael Cornicelli’s blog post last month, you’ll know that the CLA’s proposal was not something we could get behind. Not only was the CLA asking for an early extension of its term for another 15 years, but also to subject the buildings within the expanded boundaries to an additional property tax levy to fund the SSA that would increase their annual property bills by five percent for 15 years.

We knew this wasn’t in the best interest of our member buildings or the city of Chicago. And we weren’t alone.  Many BOMA/Chicago members within the proposed expansion area contributed to our collective message – that the CLA’s proposal is not something we want, need or can afford – and we did what we do best: drew a line in the sand and took a stand against the proposal on behalf of our members.

Our proactive efforts were aggressive, yet strategic. From contacting members to actively and continuously engaging with elected officials, we relentlessly took action to ensure all the facts of the CLA’s proposal were easily accessible to those who would be affected or could potentially influence the outcome.

We also took to the press. Since the initial public hearing in May, we spoke with key trade publications and top-tier Chicago media outlets to ensure our voice was heard and our campaign against this proposal sustained momentum.

The constant pressure we applied worked when, earlier this month, articles in both Crain’s Chicago Business and the Chicago Tribune broke news that the CLA had nixed its expansion plans. It was a monumental achievement for us, but we kept our foot on the gas with the press. The resulting article from a discussion between Michael Cornicelli and the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board couldn’t have been more favorable for BOMA/Chicago.  Not only did it support the CLA abandoning the proposed expansion, but it brought into question the need for renewing the SSA altogether. Now that is something we could get behind.

The collective voice that comprises our organization rose to defeat the expansion of SSA #1, but our work doesn’t stop with a key ‘W’. Our efforts with the City, the CLA and other influencers will continue in order to protect the interests of Chicago’s commercial buildings and maintain a viable, competitive business environment for years to come.

How has BOMA/Chicago’s advocacy work affected your building? Please leave us a message below.

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