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Case Study

Financial services firm consolidates Chicago locations, secures $14 million in incentives and achieves more efficient operations

​A financial services firm was looking to implement a new workplace standard that would increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness of its back-office operations. The bank had three Chicago metro office leases set to expire within 12 months, so they decided to test a consolidation solution in this region utilizing the new workplace standard, prior to rolling out similar programs nationwide.

The three expiring leases were located in three different submarkets of Chicago—two in the suburbs and one in the downtown CBD.  JLL conducted an employee demographic and commuting-pattern study to determine the optimal consolidated location that would minimize employee attrition and provide for future growth. Through this analysis, we determined Chicago’s west suburbs to be the best location for employee retention and future recruiting. In addition, this market offered the most economical real estate solution, as conditions were tenant-favorable.  

We then conducted a comprehensive market study for all existing office space alternatives that could accommodate the bank’s needed 300,000-350,000 square feet on a lease or purchase basis. We identified multiple options, and began negotiations to determine the best economical solution. The bank was sensitive to the impact a real estate transaction had on their balance sheet, and purchasing resulted in the best financial impact.

An existing, free-standing, 330,000-square-foot building in Naperville, which formerly housed a Lucent back-office operation, moved to the forefront of considerations. The building was sitting vacant for more than six years, thus offering an excellent opportunity to purchase it at an aggressive price, and justify the investment to reposition and renovate the building to the bank’s new office standard.  We conducted a cost-benefit analysis of the renovations, along with the efficiencies gained by collapsing three locations into one, and this solution offered many positive impacts.  

Additionally, the bank retained JLL’s Business Economic Incentives group to negotiate state incentives, as it was possible to relocate this consolidated operation to neighboring states.  We secured incentives exceeding $14 million in EDGE grants from the State of Illinois.  

With the consultation of the JLL team, the bank discovered, purchased and renovated the Naperville building. It has proven to be an operational and financial success—saving real estate costs through aggressive square footage savings from the consolidation, and delivering a financially viable transaction that worked for the bank’s balance sheet.

Need help with a real estate transaction of your own? Learn more about our Transaction Advisory Services or Business and Economic Incentive services.

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