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 February 3.
Bus Rapid Transit Update
After the City Council’s Transportation Committee confirmed Rebekah Scheinfeld as the new Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner, Scheinfeld stated that CDOT will consider the possibility of adding more left-turns back into the concept design for the bus rapid transit lanes along Ashland Avenue. Scheinfeld’s statement comes one month after former city traffic expert, Tom Kaeser, wrote a ten-page letter to the CTA describing the Ashland BRT as “ill-conceived.” At the same hearing, Scheinfeld was also asked about the Central Loop bus rapid transit plan and whether she believes the construction of this route is worth the expense when it only takes 7.5 minutes off round-trip bus travel. Scheinfeld reinforced that since the city cannot build more roads within the Loop, the best option is to efficiently move more people through the same corridors via busses.
Motorola Mobility to Stay at the Mart
Motorola Mobility’s change of ownership from Google to Lenovo will not impact the plan to move the firm’s 2,000 workers from Libertyville to the Merchandise Mart. The move is expected to begin in February 2014 and be completed by the end of March. In July 2012, Google agreed to move Motorola Mobility into 600,000 square feet of space into the Mart. With ownership changing hands, the 15-year Mart lease agreement still stands.
A Move Down the Pedway
Senior Lifestyle Corp. will be relocating its current office from 111 E. Wacker Drive to 303 E. Wacker Drive, a move which will keep the firm in the Illinois Center while increasing its space by 60%. After doubling its staff to 90 over the past few years, along with anticipation for further growth, Senior Lifestyle signed a 10-year lease for 30,476 square feet at 303 E. Wacker. Senior Lifestyle attempted to find expansion space within 111 E. Wacker, where it currently leases 19,000 square feet, but opted to move and terminate the lease.
New Leasing Agent at Hancock
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF) has been named the leasing agent for all of the retail space in 875 N. Michigan Ave., also known as the John Hancock Center. This retail space totals nearly 190,000 square feet, including 171,771 square feet on the Concourse level, 7,000 square feet in the Signature Room at the 95th and a fine-dining restaurant on 95th floor. The Hearn Company, along with The Lynd Company and Mount Kellett Capital Management LP, purchased the tower from Deutsche Bank AG in 2012. NGKF is also the retail leasing agent at the Wrigley Building.
Lease After Lease
Bradford Allen Realty Services has sealed 23 lease transactions on behalf of Farbman Group over the past year at 79 W. Monroe and 209 W. Jackson. Through these leases, occupancy has risen to 98% at 79 W. Monroe and to 84% and 209 W. Jackson. Brickfish, a digital marketing agency, became the most recent tenant at 209 W. Jackson when it signed a 12,770-square-foot lease to occupy the entire third floor. At 79 W. Monroe, Total Support Solutions signed a 12,300-square-foot lease to occupy the entire fifth floor.
What CRE or Chicago news headlines from the past week captured your interest? Leave us a comment and let us know.