Office N Illinois

Chicago Post Office project nabs third tenant in CMAP

Chicago Post Office project nabs third tenant in CMAP,ph01

Activity continues to buzz in the southwest corner of the Chicago CBD. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) will move into 47,000 square feet of space within the redeveloped Post Office building. The transition will occur mid-2020.

CMAP executive director Joseph Szabo told the Chicago Tribune that the regional planning group has signed a 15-year lease in the building, which is currently undergoing an $800 million renovation. The agency, which focuses on long-term regional planning in northwest Illinois, has approximately 100 employees and currently resides just across the river in about 51,000 square feet of Willis Tower office space.

“Part of the value proposition is, as regional planners, we focus a lot on reuse and preservation,” Szabo said to the Tribune. “Going into the post office, at a significant cost savings, is very consistent with CMAP’s mission.”

New-York-based 601W Companies acquired the 2.8 million-square-foot, Art Deco building in 2016 and tapped architecture firm Gensler to draw up a vision for the building’s second life, including the addition of a new food hall, a tenant-accessible rooftop and a new riverwalk. Dan Heckman and Steve Smith of the Telos Group represented 601W Companies in the transaction. CMAP was represented in this lease by Kelly Connolly, Sheila Matuscak and Allen Rogoway of Cresa.

The planning agency will largely occupy part of the fourth floor—next to another announced tenant, Walgreens—with space for larger meetings on the fifth floor. A portion of the space they will occupy was formerly the postmaster general’s suites, which CMAP will renovate in order to harken back to this original look.

Part of the reason for CMAP’s departure from Willis Tower is the renovations currently ongoing at the iconic, 110-story building. When complete, rents at the tower will rise to a level too high for the public-serving organization. Other activity in the area includes Union Station’s redevelopment and new construction of BMO Tower and the master planned new project, The 78, by Related Midwest which will connect downtown with Chinatown via 62 acres of mixed-used development.

CMAP is the third confirmed tenant in the redeveloped building. In December, Ferrara Candy confirmed its plans to return to Chicago when it takes on 77,000 square feet for 400 employees. Walgreens committed to more than 200,000 square feet inside the Old Post Office last June; approximately 1,800 employees will move into the building, though the company will retain its Deerfield, Illinois headquarters when the new office opens in the fall of 2019.