West Loop Trophy Tower Hits the Million Mark

Preleasing at 110 N. Wacker, Chicago’s tallest new office building in decades, surpasses 1 million square feet on the strength of a law firm’s commitment.
110 N. Wacker
110 N. Wacker. Image courtesy of The Howard Hughes Corp. and Riverside Investment and Development

A lease of four full floors by mega–law firm Jones Day has pushed preleasing at 110 N. Wacker in Chicago past both the 1 million-square-foot threshold and the two-thirds mark, The Howard Hughes Corp. teamed up with Riverside Investment and Development to work on this project.

When it opens in 15 months, the 55-story, approximately 1.5 million-square-foot Class A+ tower, situated along the Chicago River in the West Loop, will reportedly be Chicago’s tallest office tower built in the past three decades. The tower features floor plates of 26,000 to 30,000 square feet, a 45-foot-wide riverwalk, secure building-wide Wi-Fi and WiredScore Platinum certification.

The signing was the fourth new lease of 2019, but leasing began with a bang way back in May 2017, when Bank of America became the lead anchor tenant with a lease that eventually solidified at 525,000 square feet. The developers broke ground on the building last June.

Besides BofA and Jones Day, the developers have signed law firms Morgan Lewis and Perkins Coie for 90,000 and 100,000 square feet, respectively, as well as investment banking adviser Lincoln International for 75,000 square feet, and members business club No. 18 for 58,000 square feet, a spokesperson for the developers told Commercial Property Executive.

A tenant’s market

The project is being built on the former site of a six-story Class B office building, completed in 1956, that had been the headquarters of General Growth Properties. That company, since purchased by Brookfield and renamed Brookfield Properties Retail Group, relocated a short distance north, to offices at 350 N. Orleans, previously known as The Apparel Mart and adjacent to the Merchandise Mart.

The downtown Chicago office market in the second quarter was moving in favor of tenants, with rent rates flattening and availabilities increasing, though demands for top-quality space remains strong, according to a second-quarter report from Savills. The overall downtown availability was 16.3 percent, an increase of 0.6 percent over 12 months prior. The average Class A asking rent hit $40.96, versus $39.65 a year earlier, also per Savills.