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Chicago has a long-established entrepreneurial ecosystem and is home to the second-largest central business district in the United States. Historically industries including commerce, technology, telecommunications and transportation have been major players in Chicago’s economy but a growing tech community is turning the city into a hub for innovation.
Tenants looking for class A commercial office space or creative office space have a wide variety of neighborhoods to choose from mostly oriented around the "loop" where most business addresses are located. However, the Northwest suburbs and East-West corridor provide large markets for commercial space outside the downtown core.
As for the city itself, it is often known as the best food city in America. Time Out Magazine went one step further and ranked it the best city in the world for having it all, 2 years in a row! Chicago has that perfect balance of a large city lifestyle, great transportation, food, culture, and overall happiness.
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Everything from technology and heavy industry to professional services and healthcare gravitate towards Aurora’s robust commercial real estate market. Companies will find a variety of properties within its borders, including Class A, Class B, storefront, coworking, and industrial space. Inventory averages 4,500 sq ft with rents typically ranging between $21 and $23 per sq ft.Several large warehouse facilities at 150,000 sq ft or more are currently under construction just outside of town limits to further expand its already broad appeal. Parking can get a bit expensive in the city as much of it relies on a color-coded system for on-street and lot parking which carry different time limits. More congested areas like Downtown Aurora carry shorter limits but also create a more equitable parking system for businesses and patrons alike.
A wide range of industries call Chicago’s Central Loop home. Everything from architecture, engineering, legal, and financial firms to non-profits, construction, and marketing agencies gravitate towards its attractive commercial real estate inventory. Companies will find an abundance of Class A and Class B offerings with a growing amount of coworking space throughout the entire Loop.Office space in the Central Loop averages 4,500 sq ft at $35/sq ft. Developers are concentrating on coworking properties and condominium towers with newer projects but a handful of developments will increase more traditional office space as well. A 20-story, 200,000 sq ft project is currently underway at 145 S. Wells that will inject new Class A loft space into the area’s commercial inventory. The development targets full-floor tenants requiring at least 11,500 sq ft of space and is representative of a push for highly flexible commercial space throughout the Central Loop. Like much of the area’s buildings, it will have minimal parking so the majority of employees will rely on public transportation, taxis, and ridesharing like the rest of the Central Loop’s workforce.
Downers Grove features Class A, Class B, industrial, and storefront retail space that averages 4,500 sq ft with rents typically between $20 and $22/sq ft. The city offers plenty of metered street parking along with several commuter lots and a dedicated four-story garage to serve the ever-growing roster of companies calling Downers Grove home.Numerous developments are either already under construction or in the planning stages to further expand the commercial space in the city. Bridge Point Downers Grove is a massive 680,000 sq ft complex spread over 54 acres near I-355. The development’s three buildings will infuse the market with needed inventory to serve a growing demand for industrial space. The new 170,000 sq ft Green Bay Packaging facility is another notable project in Downers Grove that will break ground in the near future.
Evanston is a center of industry and commerce for the entire midwest. Everything from advertising and professional firms to hospitality and healthcare has a significant presence in the city. Companies can therefore find a wide variety of commercial space in Evanston, including Class A, Class B, coworking, and storefront retail space.Office space averages 5,000 sq ft at rents typically between $27 and $29 per sq ft depending on the type and location of the space. The city has approximately 1,200 metered parking spaces as well as an additional five dedicated public use lots that provide another 3,300 parking spaces. The most notable new construction projects in Evanston are three residential mid-rises that will add hundreds of new housing units upon completion.
The Fulton Market area of Chicago features a unique blend of commercial space that comfortably houses everything from vast corporate headquarters to smaller, flexible spaces for tech startups. Google leases over 500,000 SF of space between two separate properties in Fulton Market while McDonald’s now occupies the former home of Harpo Studios. That isn’t to say the area is exclusively for large corporations as many young technology companies are also flocking to the neighborhood as well.
A push to provide a better work/live/play balance helps companies attract local talent to Goose Island. Boutique shopping, several restaurants, and a growing number of nightlife spots are all close to the community. Its central location in the heart of Chicagoland is another appealing aspect of working in Goose Island. When coupled with expanding residential neighborhoods and a forward-looking initiative to propel the area into the future, Goose Island offers unique benefits to companies and employees alike.
The majority of the market consists of warehouse, retail, office, and science park space at a minimum of 7,500 sq ft. Rents average $30/sq ft and most of the new construction focuses on creative and technology firms. The ongoing Goose Island 2025 initiative is guiding most of the area’s rebirth with a detailed plan to transform the neighborhood into a vibrant and diverse collection of companies from an assortment of industries.
Lincoln Park is one of the most forward-looking neighborhoods in all of Chicagoland. Home to a burgeoning startup movement as well as several small to medium-sized businesses, the area features an appealing balance of locally-owned companies and innovative thought.
The rising rents in the downtown area are making Lincoln Park an increasingly attractive choice for businesses. Developers have taken notice of this spike in demand and broken ground on a handful of new developments. Lincoln Yards is the most notable of these projects with an ambitious mixed-use plan that will add significant green space, office complexes, and recreational areas to the region. CH Robinson has already moved into its new 200,000 sq ft building in Lincoln Yards to serve as an anchor point for the new development.
Every legendary city has a street that becomes synonymous with the area's personality and history. Michigan Avenue in Chicago is a perfect example of that dynamic with its bustling economy, high-end shops and hotels, and an environment that embodies the more exclusive side of Chicago’s character.
Companies will find significant inventories of Class A, Class B, industrial warehouse space, and limited amounts of retail and coworking space near O’Hare. Space size averages 5,000 sq ft at rents between $22 and $24/sq ft although it varies by type, size, and location. The area features ample parking between the airport’s numerous parking garages as well as metered street parking.The $8.2 billion O’Hare 21 modernization initiative will dominate much of the area’s development in the coming years. Particularly noteworthy is the $1.2 billion expansion of the airport’s Terminal 5 that will add 350,000 sq ft of space by 2021. Plans for Terminal 5 also include a new parking garage, pedestrian bridge, and even a proposed on-site hotel.
River North was once known as an industrial center for much of Chicago and the surrounding area. Times have changed and River North is once again in the middle of a neighborhood transformation where marketing and advertising firms are quickly making room for other types of creative firms, technology startups, and interior design companies.
Schaumburg’s broad appeal makes it attractive to a wide range of companies and industries. Finance, professional, and personal services all have a significant presence in the city as does retail, manufacturing, and several others. It’s commercial real estate inventory features abundant Class A, Class B, retail storefront, and industrial space along with a limited but growing coworking inventory.
Companies will find everything from smaller 1,000 sq ft inventory to larger spaces at 20,000 sq ft and above. Commercial space averages 8,000 sq ft across the submarket with rents in the $27 to $29/sq ft range. Parking isn’t much of an issue given Schaumburg’s many parking garages but overnight street parking is prohibited unless you have a permit.Several new developments are either already under construction or in the planning stages throughout the city. The Boler Company is building a 180,000 sq ft global headquarters facility on the site of an older Motorola campus. New retail locations and restaurants are clustering around the Woodfield Mall to take advantage of the property’s increased traffic thanks to a significant renovation and influx of new tenants.
One of the many benefits of working in Chicago’s West Loop is its accessibility. Traffic in the area is relatively normal by Chicago standards but the West Loop neighborhood has ample public transportation options to ease the daily commute. Ogilvie Transportation Center is centrally located in West Loop and provides easy Metra access for commuting to and from the region’s many suburban neighborhoods. The Clinton and Morgan Stations also make commuting by the “L” train a convenient option for the West Loop workforce.
Nearly every sector of industry has at least some presence in Naperville. Everything from financial, professional, and staffing services to marketing agencies, manufacturers, and healthcare gravitate towards the city’s mix of robust economy and fulfilling lifestyle. Companies will find commercial real estate to fill most every need, including Class A, Class B, industrial, storefront retail, and a growing inventory of coworking space.
Sizes range from 1,000 to 20,000 sq ft with an average of 5,000 sq ft at monthly rents typically between $22 and $24/sq ft. Parking is plentiful throughout the city with three public parking decks and more than half a dozen surface parking lots with spaces available at all times of the day or night. The renovation of the Washington Street bridge scheduled for 2020 will likely impact parking and street congestion in certain sections of the city but officials have prioritized access to Downtown businesses to minimize any economic effect.The most recent real estate developments in Naperville have primarily focused on expanding residential neighborhoods to meet the demand from a growing population base. Developers will build over 300 new homes on the site of the former Wagner Farms and several other new residential projects are currently in the proposal stages and awaiting review and approval from the city.