“Chicago, the only city among the nation’s 20 largest to see population loss in 2015, could be overtaken in a decade by Houston as the third-most-populous city if the trend continues.” (Chicago Tribune May 19, 2016)

As a resident and practicing commercial real estate broker in Chicago, I can honestly say I wouldn’t want to live or work anywhere else. Despite the population loss, the city has actually developed with respect to global businesses, and several neighborhoods have become the focal point of real estate growth.

River North

The River North submarket is booming. With an interesting mix of glossy high-rise towers, hip loft-style office space, and historic properties, River North has been dramatically transformed from a fairly undeveloped area to a thriving submarket with a Class A vacancy of just 6.8 percent.  The Merchandise Mart in particular, home to retailers and wholesale goods since 1930, has become a part of the city’s thriving technology ecosystem and is host to such companies as Google, Yelp, Braintree and technology collaborative, 1871.

"Chicago, USA - July 28, 2012: Kayaks on the Chicago River in front of Merchandise Mart (built 1930), downtown Chicago. People in a group of colorful kayaks on a sunny day."

The Loop

111 N. Canal has been entirely renovated by Sterling Bay and the century old structure is now home to tech firms such as Gogo, Fieldglass and Uber. Where a dilapidated Walgreens used to stand, John Buck has broken ground on a building at 130 N. Franklin that will house insurance giant CNA. Diagonally, excavators are preparing a vacant lot for construction of a 1.2 million-square-foot square foot office tower to be anchored by a large global law firm.
Additionally, Walgreens, recently acquired by European based Alliance Boots, will likely move its headquarters from Deerfield to Chicago within the next 12- 24 months. Also in the Loop, a group of local developers has obtained a $98 million construction loan that will enable them to break ground ona new 20-story, 500,000-square-foot office building at 625 W. Adams.

The Loop

West Loop

444 West Lake Street and 150 North Riverside are two Class A, 1.0M square-foot office towers that are nearly 90 percent leased, one year prior to delivery. McDonald’s, one of the most recognized brands in the world, has recently elected to move its corporate headquarters from Oakbrook Terrace, IL to a site in the growing Fulton Market district.

The building, which will replace Harpo Studios, is located mere blocks from Google’s new offices and the Morgan CTA station, which was built to support neighborhood growth.

West Loop

Fortune 500 Company Headquarters Located in Chicago

chicago brands

Although Chicago has experienced modest population loss as of late, the corporate growth and development are still present and thriving.  Multiple Fortune 100 companies have chosen Chicago for their headquarters thanks to a great mix of industry, and the fact that our cost of living remains 20 percent lower than other first-tier cities, such as San Francisco and New York.  It is my hope that, with more businesses moving into Chicago, the population growth for Chicago will soon follow.

Michael Marrion is a Vice President with Colliers International Chicago’s Office Advisory Group and specializes in tenant representation. Michael has extensive experience representing law and financial service firms as well as non-profit organizations and trade associations.  Clients include Freeborn & Peters, OceanTomo and One Hope United.