Law firm signs one of downtown Chicago’s largest office leases for 2023
A Canadian developer fixing up a vacant 33-story office tower in Chicago’s Loop business district has signed a 90,000-square-foot lease with a law firm that is one of the city’s largest deals of the year.
Neal Gerber & Eisenberg has terminated the lease At 225 W. Randolph Street, According to Telos Group, the leasing agency representing the property owner, Onni Group.
The agreement, which had been in the works for months, was finalized at a time when real estate deals across the country have slowed due to rising interest rates, corporate cutbacks and other economic concerns.
Excluding renewals, there were only four larger office leases in downtown Chicago this year, according to CoStar data, led by law firm Winston & Strawn with about 150,000 square feet. Deal to move to 300 N. LaSalle St.
The other two are in buildings under construction in the Fulton Market area just west of the Oni Building in Randolph. Harrison Street Real Estate Capital Leased 112,004 square feet in project Recently broke out at 919 W. Fulton & Law Firm Greenberg Traurig The 91,644-square-foot space at 360 N. Green St.
Neal Gerber & Eisenberg is the first tenant to sign with Vancouver-based Onni since it bought the tower for more than $160 million in December 2021, according to CoStar data, with plans to invest another $140 million to add modern features including a rooftop deck.
The building now bears the brand name The Bell, a nod to its origins as the Illinois Bell Building when it opened in 1966. Designed by architecture firm Holabird & Root, it is designated a Chicago Landmark in 2021.
Oni bought the tower at a significant discount to the building’s previous selling price.
Before the 2021 sale, the building had been owned for nearly a decade and a half by The Kushner Company, the real estate company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of former President Donald Trump.
Kushner bought the tower for approximately $276 million in a sale-and-leaseback deal with AT&T in 2007. AT&T’s lease on the building expired last year, and scaffolding was recently installed around the tower at Randolph and Franklin streets while it undergoes major construction.
Neal Gerber & Eisenberg is moving out of 118,715 square feet at 2 N. LaSalle St., where its lease expires in May 2025, according to CoStar data.
Founded in 1986, the firm has its sole office in Chicago, making it one of the largest single-location law firms in the country, according to its website.
Neal Gerber & Eisenberg and Onni did not respond to requests for comment from CoStar News.
The law firm’s lease negotiations in the building were previously reported by Real Deal Chicago.
Onni’s other investments in Chicago include another Loop office building at 200 N. LaSalle St. and 550 W. Van Buren St., and several projects north of the Loop and west of Fulton Market and plans to build thousands of apartments in and around Goose. island.
The tenant was represented by CBRE brokers Todd Liebman and Kyle Kamin. The owner was represented by Telos Group brokers Jack O’Brien and Matt Whipple.