Molex lease helps Blackstone reach 94 percent occupancy at Willis Tower

The electronics manufacturer brought 110 employees to 20K sf on a renovated 57th floor of the iconic skyscraper

Chicago /
Dec.December 13, 2018 04:00 PM

Molex CEO Joe Nelligan and Willis Tower (Credit: iStock)

Molex signed a 20,000-square-foot lease inside Blackstone Group’s Willis Tower, pushing its occupancy to 94 percent, a subsidiary of the global asset manager announced Thursday.

The electronics manufacturer brought 110 employees to a renovated space on the tower’s 57th floor, according to EQ office, an office management company owned by Blackstone. Willis Tower marks the sixth Illinois location for the tenant, which manufactures electrical and fiber optic hardware.

Companies have leased a combined 500,000 square feet inside the city’s tallest tower since the beginning of 2017, and rents there have spiked about 25 percent over the same period, according to Telos Group, which oversees leasing for the 3.8 million-square-foot skyscraper.

The flurry of leasing coincides with an ongoing $668 million renovation that’s set to add more than 300,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space to the Willis Tower complex, including a new food hall operated by Urbanspace, in 2020.

New York-based Blackstone bought the former Sears Tower in 2015 for $1.3 billion, then the most expensive office transaction ever recorded outside of New York City. Earlier this year, the property owner refinanced the property with a record $1.3 billion loan.

A growing glut of Downtown office space is pressuring landlords to either renovate their buildings or shell out for tenant concessions in order to fill space, analysts reported this year.

The 94 percent occupancy rate puts the Willis Tower on strong footing compared to the rest of the Downtown office market, where occupancy has hovered around 87 percent this year.


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