The offices of Google’s Motorola Mobility at the Merchandise Mart were the focus of a talk by Myron Maurer, COO of Merchandise Mart Properties Inc, at an event hosted by the ULI Chicago Young Leaders. The case study highlighted the history of the Merchandise Mart and the restacking and tenant improvements that will bring Google’s Motorola Mobility to the Mart later this year.
Attendees learned of the Mart’s storied history and stable legacy. With only three owners since its 1931 opening, the Mart’s tenants have ranged from the U.S. Army for a short stint during WWII to six current occupants with leases that began more than 70 years ago. The Kennedys held the Mart from 1946 to 1998 when they sold to Vornado Realty Trust.
After the 2008 real estate downturn, the Mart lost many tenants and began a restacking to consolidate vacant space. The restacking was a critical negotiating piece for securing the lease for Google’s Motorola Mobility. As a result, 70 tenants relocated within the Mart, some with triple moves, and more than 40 others were terminated.
Google’s Motorola Mobility will occupy over 600,000 square feet on the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th floors, consisting of office and laboratory spaces. The budget to prepare the space is over $200 per square foot, not including specialized lab equipment. Some 30,000 square feet of laboratory space devoted to cell phone testing is lined with copper – on the floors, ceilings, walls and columns. Architect Gensler designed the open floor plan, ten food service areas, and rooftop garden to attract a younger workforce.
The sold out event with 30 Young Leaders provided an insider’s perspective on the Motorola deal. The group gathered at Central Standard nearby for drinks and networking after the event.authored by Molly Meyer, Omni Ecosystems