Chicago Fulton Market district getting furniture-maker – Crain’s Chicago Business


Office furniture-maker Allsteel is poised to set up shop in the Fulton Market District, adding to a run of furniture brands planting their flags in trendy former meatpacking neighborhood.

The Muscatine, Iowa-based company is nearing a deal to lease close to 24,000 square feet in the 11-story building Sterling Bay is developing at 345 N. Morgan St., according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

If the deal is completed, Allsteel would open a new office and showroom in the 200,000-square-foot building under construction kitty-corner from Google’s Midwest headquarters. It’s unclear whether the company would vacate its long-standing showroom space in the Merchandise Mart as part of the move; an Allsteel spokeswoman didn’t provide a comment.

Allsteel, whose brand is part of furniture giant HNI, is on track to join a fast-growing list of designer furniture brands leasing space in Fulton Market, many of which are defecting from the Merchandise Mart. Publicly traded furniture company Knoll led the way in 2018 when it left the Mart for a newly built office building at 811 W. Fulton St.; Zeeland, Mich.-based Herman Miller followed suit with a long-term lease of a redeveloped building at 1100 W. Fulton St. Then came a rash of deals this year from furniture and interior design brands Teknion, Gabriel and Tarkett, all inking deals for showrooms and offices in Fulton Market buildings.

Those deals have collectively turned Fulton Market into a burgeoning outpost of designer furniture to go along with its status as a hotbed of offices for big corporate brands such as Google, McDonald’s, Mondelez International, Kimberly-Clark and, most recently, tractor-maker Deere.

Allsteel’s pending lease also comes amid a surge of office deals in Fulton Market, while leasing elsewhere downtown remains relatively sluggish and the downtown office vacancy rate stands at a record high. For Sterling Bay, Allsteel would follow a lease that supply chain management company Havi Group recently signed for half of the building, where it will relocate its main office from suburban Downers Grove.

With both deals in place, the building would be just more than 60% leased, with about 10 months until it is completed. Sterling Bay broke ground on the building in August after landing a $100 million construction loan.

Sterling Bay’s Russ Cora oversees leasing at 345 N. Morgan. Savills Vice Chairmen Robert Sevim and Joe Learner recently represented Havi Group in negotiating its lease at the building.