More bad news for Downtown office market: Chicago Tribune exits Prudential Plaza

Paper leaving 137K sf newsroom, main office at Sterling Bay property for Freedom Center printing facility

The Prudential Plaza office and the Freedom Center printing facility (Wikipedia, Google Maps)
The Prudential Plaza office and the Freedom Center printing facility (Wikipedia, Google Maps)

The story on the Downtown Chicago office market keeps getting worse.

Here’s the latest bad news: The city’s oldest and largest daily paper, the Chicago Tribune, will exit its 137,000-square-foot lease at Sterling Bay’s Prudential Plaza at the end of the month, the paper reported.

Its parent company, Tribune Publishing, will move the newsroom and main office to its Freedom Center printing facility along the Chicago River north of downtown, the Tribune reported.

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“Our decision to move our offices from Prudential to Freedom Center helps to reorganize our physical footprint as we continue to navigate the pandemic, position the company for long-term sustainability and ensure the health of our organization for the future,” Tribune Publishing spokesman Max Reinsdorf said in a statement.

In 2018, the Tribune left its gothic namesake tower after 93 years — CIM Group and Golub & Co. are turning the 1925 building into 162 luxury condominiums — and moved into Prudential Plaza. But the new office didn’t last long. For months, JLL has been marketing the space to potential tenants.

The Tribune’s departure adds to the expanding number of vacancies plaguing the city’s downtown office market. Companies have been subleasing their space — or trying to — trimming or exiting their leases at a steady clip. Office vacancy rate climbed to 14.2 percent in the central business district in the fourth quarter. The 148.2 million square feet of total inventory was also up from 142.9 million the same time in 2019. [Tribune] — Sasha Jones

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