Cars.com wants to shrink its space at West Loop HQ

Move to sublease 50K sf at Third Millennium-owned tower is part of recent downsizing among firms in Chicago office market

Chicago /
Sep.September 17, 2020 11:33 AM
Cars.com CEO Alex Vetter and the building (Credit: Google Maps)

Cars.com CEO Alex Vetter and the building (Credit: Google Maps)

Automotive classified website Cars.com wants to unload a third of its West Loop tower headquarters, listing about 50,000 square feet for sublease.

The move, first reported in Crain’s, is part of a larger exodus in the Chicago office market, which has seen a spike in companies exiting leases, and trimming or canceling plans to take new space.

The surge in space in the secondary market has pushed Chicago Downtown sublease availability to about 4.4 million square feet, already surpassing the 4.2 million-square-foot peak in the wake of the Great Recession, Crain’s reported, according to MBRE.

Cars.com suffered a tough second quarter from the decline in advertising and car-buying brought on by the pandemic. In addition to layoffs and other measures, the company is scaling back on its lease obligations.

The firm’s long-term lease at its 300 South Riverside Plaza headquarters is for 158,000 square feet. The company inked the deal with landlord Third Millennium Properties in 2017, and it runs through June 2031. CBRE is handling marketing for the sublease at the 23-story tower.

Noting the move to remote work, Cars.com said its employees had already been able to operate outside the office, and the company has put that into practice, according to the report.

Among the recent companies that have changed their lease plans, WeWork is the most prominent. Last month, the beleaguered co-working firm abandoned plans to open two locations in Fulton Market. It bought out a pair of leases totaling 110,000 square feet.

And in July, software products firm CCC Information Services said it would scale back the amount of space it will lease at Shapack Partners and Focus’ 750,000-square-foot office building, also in Fulton Market.

Overall — at least in the short-term — the pandemic has led to a 20 to 25 percent drop in users of the downtown office market. [Crain’s]Akiko Matsuda


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