Edelman is shrinking and moving its Chicago headquarters to the West Loop next month, following through with a lease it was finalizing before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The public relations giant confirmed it has inked a deal for 92,000 square feet at 111 N. Canal St., where it will move from the Aon Center after 26 years. The new space at the Gogo Building will be just more than half the size of its current office footprint in a building it has called home since 1995.
The 15-year lease adds Edelman to the list of major downtown tenants cutting back on physical workspace after adjusting to life with remote workers over the past 18 months. Such widespread downsizing has driven up the office vacancy rate in the central business district to its highest mark on record and has recently pushed some landlords to boost concessions and lease term flexibility to land tenants.
Edelman’s move to the 11th and 12th floors at the Canal Street building helps shore up the tenant roster for JPMorgan Asset Management, which has owned the 16-story property since 2014. The building is 90% leased today, according to real estate information company CoStar Group.
The move opens a big block of space, meanwhile, for Aon Center owner 601W, the New York-based developer best known locally for redeveloping the Old Post Office into a modern office building. Edelman is one of the largest tenants in the 83-story building today, though 601W recently fortified its rent roll when Kraft Heinz renewed its lease in July for nearly the same 170,000-square-foot office it has had in the building since 2015.
Including Edelman, the Aon Center is 93% leased today, according to CoStar. 601W also recently completed a $6.5 million renovation to the plaza along the building’s southern edge, which building leasing brokerage Telos Group said was crucial to Kraft Heinz’s renewal, “and we anticipate even more leasing momentum to come,” Telos Principal Jamey Dix said in a statement.
Edelman has about 6,000 employees globally, including 537 based in Chicago, according to the company. The new office will include 257 desks and close to 800 “other seats, including collaboration zones, cafes, team rooms, meeting spaces and focus areas,” an Edelman spokeswoman said in a statement.
“We designed an office that people will truly want to be in,” Edelman Chicago President Kevin Cook said in a statement. “This new environment encourages connection and flexibility and gives employees ample room to spread out when they return to the office in a hybrid model.”
Edelman, co-headquartered in New York and Chicago and founded by Daniel Edelman in 1952, has more than 60 offices around the world.
The Chicago Tribune first reported Edelman’s deal to move to the Gogo Building.