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WeWork becomes largest office tenant in downtown Chicago

Ryan Ori, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Home and Consumer News

CHICAGO -- WeWork has signed its 12th lease in Chicago, pushing its footprint to more than 1 million square feet and making the co-working giant the largest tenant leasing office space downtown.

The New York-based company's latest deal is for almost 92,000 square feet in a 20-story tower at 625 W. Adams St., where the company said it will move in by Nov. 1.

The company's standing in the city demonstrates the massive growth that providers of flexible, short-term space have experienced in the past few years.

WeWork's downtown Chicago total surpasses the approximately 940,000 square feet that Bank of America leases in multiple downtown locations. United Airlines leases about 900,000 square feet, mostly in its Willis Tower headquarters, according to Chicago-based commercial brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle.

Its list does not include companies such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Northern Trust and Health Care Service Corp., and government agencies that occupy more space but own most or all of their space rather than renting.

Fast-growing WeWork is the largest office tenant in markets including Manhattan, London and Washington, D.C.

Co-working has expanded significantly in recent years, as WeWork and its rivals sign deals with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small startups and individual entrepreneurs.

Typically, co-working providers sign long-term leases with office landlords, then sign members to short-term commitments.

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Co-working companies have more than tripled their space and their combined number of clients in Chicago in the past four years, according to a report from commercial real estate brokerage Newmark Knight Frank and Chicago Creative Space.

Chicago is expected to have more than 57,000 co-working members in almost 3.9 million square feet of space by 2020.

Some big office developers, and even hotel owners, are creating their own offerings to capitalize on co-working demand.

Crain's Chicago Business first reported the Adams Street lease.

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