Motorola Successor to Take Nearly 600 KSF at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart

Motorola Mobility, which was purchased by Google barely two months ago, has signed a lease for 572,000 square feet at the iconic Merchandise Mart in Chicago, the company and property owner Vornado Realty Trust announced late last week.

Merchandise Mart

Motorola Mobility, which was purchased by Google barely two months ago, has signed a lease for 572,000 square feet at the iconic Merchandise Mart in Chicago, the company and property owner Vornado Realty Trust announced late last week.

The move, to be completed by next summer, involves the relocation of Motorola Mobility’s current headquarters, in far north suburban Libertyville, Ill. Motorola Mobility will become the Mart’s largest tenant, occupying space on the top four floors and the rooftop.

This transaction increases the building’s office component to 1.7 million square feet, Vornado announced, “continuing the rightsizing of the mix of office space and showroom space.”

Though completed in 1931, the Merchandise Mart is still one of the world’s largest commercial buildings (excluding industrial buildings and airport terminals), at 3.5 million rentable square feet and with floor plates of 200,000 square feet. It was LEED for Existing Buildings Silver certified in 2007.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration touted the lease as the city’s latest success in its efforts to attract corporate headquarters to Chicago. This reportedly is the seventh headquarters relocation to the city announced during his tenure.

Formerly known as Motorola’s Mobile Devices division, Motorola Mobility was spun off as a separate entity in January 2011. Its Mobile Devices business produces smartphones, and its Home business produces set-top boxes, end-to-end video solutions and cable modems.

In August 2011, Google announced that it would acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Motorola shareholders approved the acquisition, as did the U.S. Department of Justice, the European Union and Chinese authorities, and the deal was completed on May 22, 2012.

As previously reported by Commercial Property Executive, on July 5 Vornado announced the sale of 350 West Mart Center, the Washington Design Center, the Boston Design Center, the L.A. Mart and the Canadian Trade Shows for about $228 million in total, with net proceeds of about $144 million.

The sales of the L.A. Mart and the Canadian Trade Shows had already closed at the time of the announcement. The other sales are subject to customary closing conditions and are expected to close in the third quarter.

As Vornado had announced in January, the company sold 350 West Mart Center (adjacent to the Merchandise Mart and previously known as the Chicago Apparel Center) for $228 million, including a $55 million gain.

Also among these sales is an agreement to sell 409 Third St., S.W., in Washington, D.C., for $200 million, which will result in net proceeds of $186 million and a net gain of $120 million. The office building is contiguous to the Washington Design Center and is being sold to the same purchaser. This sale, too, is expected to close in the third quarter.