A digital security firm is the latest tech company preparing to set up a new shop in the booming West Loop.
Keeper Security will triple its footprint in the neighborhood with a nearly 16,000-square-foot lease inside the eight-story former packaging building at 820 West Jackson Boulevard, taking up most of its fourth floor, the company announced Wednesday.
The firm will take on 130 new employes and upgrade from its smaller existing headquarters at 850 West Jackson. Both buildings are owned by office landlord V Collective.
The building’s “20-foot ceilings and huge columns, with a lot of natural brick and stone” were part of what attracted CEO Darren Guccione to the new space, he said, adding the re-tooled aesthetic of the area’s loft mid-rises is a key reason why so many tech companies are scrambling to move to the West Loop.
“An office should be a warm, open and airy place, with a ton of positive energy,” Guccione said. “And sometimes with a high-rise office building, you get more of a sterile feel.”
The restaurant Drink Haus Supper Club leases space on the building’s ground floor.
Guccione did not say how much his firm will pay in rent, but a recent listing advertises space in the 107-year-old building starting around $36 per square foot — roughly in line with the median Downtown office rent.
Office rents are climbing more quickly in the West Loop than other parts of Downtown, as the city’s surging tech sector continues to concentrate around the Google office that opened in 2015 at Sterling Bay’s 1K Fulton complex.
More than 800,000 square feet of new space was absorbed in the West Loop submarket last year, representing nearly a fifth of the previous total capacity of rentable space in the area, one study found. It’s an especially hot corner of the Downtown office market, where landlords are bracing for millions of square feet of new space to come online during the next several years.
About three blocks to the east of Keeper Security’s new office, New York-based 601W Companies recently signed four new tenants combining for 140,000 square feet in its 18-story office complex at 550 West Jackson, another sign of strong demand for work space in the area.
“There are so many tech companies near our building, you can feel the energy,” Guccione said of the district. “It’s an entire ecosystem.”
The explosive growth of the city’s tech industry ranks high among the achievements Mayor Rahm Emanuel is touting as he heads for the exit. The mayor led and expanded the semi-public World Business Chicago, which Guccione credited for “building an amazing culture for tech in the city.”
Developers are building feverishly to catch up to the surging demand for West Loop office space. Shapack Partners broke ground last month on its planned 17-story building at 167 North Green Street, and Thor Equities scored approval for a 19-story complex at 800 West Fulton Market.
Sterling Bay is building its own 19-story office building at 333 North Green Street, the first of three planned developments set to combine for 1.7 million square feet of new space.