JPMorgan is shopping for up to 1M sf of office space downtown

A lease at that size would be one of largest in city’s history

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon with the Chicago Chase Tower (Getty)
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon with the Chicago Chase Tower (Getty)

JPMorgan Chase is, well, on the chase again. The banking giant is looking at sites to relocate upwards of 1 million square feet downtown at a time when choice office space is widely available and developers are itching to build.

In what could be a record-breaking lease deal, JPMorgan reportedly is looking at a number of sites in vacant buildings as well as at least four potential new developments in the Loop and Fulton Market, according to the Chicago Tribune. If it does relocate from its namesake tower in the heart of the Loop, it has to determine what to do with that 1.9-million-square-foot skyscraper.

This isn’t the first time JPMorgan has scouted for sites, but it looks like it could actually make the move this time, the Tribune said. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has been outspoken about bringing workers back to the office, insisting that some departments work five days a week onsite.

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And he’s upped the ante in New York to do it with a new “universal design” headquarters at 270 Park Avenue that has a flexible reconfiguration. At the same time, he’s told shareholders he intends to “significantly reduce” the company’s office footprint.

In Chicago, the bank owns and occupies much of the 60-story Chase Tower that is an imposing part of the city’s skyline. It opened in 1969 and has been updated a few times since, but it’s not the same as the shining new skyscrapers Bank of America is now in at 110 N. Wacker Drive or the BMO Tower under construction next to Union Station.

Real estate observers told the Tribune that JPMorgan would not want to let its competitors look better than it does in new towers, suggesting a move was imminent. If not, Chase Tower is likely to get a huge overhaul, the report said.

[Chicago Tribune] – Jennifer Waters