A specialty insurance provider has more than doubled its footprint in downtown, hinting at a potential recovery for an office market that’s still climbing out from the depths of the pandemic.
Sompo International has leased more than 28,000 square feet in John Buck’s 46-story tower at 155 North Wacker Drive, CoStar reported. The company will relocate from 303 West Madison Street, where it occupies about 13,000 square feet.
JLL brokers Deanna Becker, Kyle Harding and Patrick Lennon represented Sompo in lease negotiations, while Newmark’s Bill Rolander represented Buck, who developed the building.
The move to the Wacker Drive tower reflects the ongoing flight-to-quality trend, in which companies are opting for newer, amenity-filled office properties. The building is 91 percent leased, considerably higher than the city average of roughly 76 percent.
“It’s a feather in the cap, going to a Wacker Drive address from a little bit more dated space with fewer amenities,” said JLL’s Deanna Becker, who was involved in the Sompo deal.
Sompo chose its space in the 15-year-old tower, where leasing costs are about half of newer buildings along the river or in Fulton Market.
The move strategically places Sompo closer to key business partners, including Marsh and Ryan Specialty Group. The tower joins a list of expanding Sompo locations, aligning with the company’s growth strategy and preference for Class A buildings. It’s unclear how many workers Sompo will house at its new Chicago office.
Since the pandemic ignited the remote-work movement, companies shrinking their office footprint has become the norm. However, there have been a few lease expansions, flashing glimmers of hope for a struggling office sector.
Market research firm Mintel recently moved into a 30,000-square-foot space at 203 North LaSalle Street, upping its Chicago footprint by 14 percent. In September, renewable energy firm RWE expanded its occupancy from 28,600 square feet to nearly 57,000 square feet in the 47-story tower at 353 North Clark Street, while insurance brokerage Lockton added 14,000 square feet to its lease at 500 West Monroe Street.