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Case Study

One South Wacker: The return of prominence to a storied landmark

One South Wacker was a 40-story glass-covered landmark when it rose in Chicago’s Loop in 1982.  When new ownership purchased it 20 years later, tenants and local brokers regarded it as a building with dated amenities in a prime location.  Even worse, a major tenant’s decision to vacate half of its space at the end of a lease would render the property almost two-thirds empty.  The owners turned to Jones Lang LaSalle to develop and implement a plan to improve the building’s long-term leasing prospects.

We mobilized a collaborative team of local specialists in leasing, facility and project management, investment sales, valuation and engineering to map out a strategy for the future.  Our team immediately acted to mitigate the most pressing risk by negotiating an early termination on four of the six floors the major tenant was planning to vacate, so we could pre-lease the space quickly.

Our repositioning strategy included:

  • A $7 million capital improvement plan for renovations including an outdoor plaza with monument signage, and upgrades to common areas such as the lobby, elevators, corridors and restrooms.
  • An aggressive retail strategy that reconfigured ground floor space, attracting more and better tenants including a fine restaurant.

Our financial experts helped keep the upgrades well below market, with minimal impact on tax and operating expenses.

The long-term strategy is already demonstrating success. In four years, our team has completed more than 30 leasing deals totaling almost 700,000 square feet, including the retention of three key tenants.

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