Google nearing Fulton Market expansion

Tech firm’s Chicago workforce to keep growing as it eyes new Trammell Crow building

Google's Sundar Pichai with 400 North Aberdeen (Getty, Trammell Crow Company)
Google's Sundar Pichai with 400 North Aberdeen (Getty, Trammell Crow Company)

Google is looking at expanding its Chicago office footprint.

The tech firm is eyeing a lease for 200,000 square feet at 400 North Aberdeen Street in the city’s hot Fulton Market District, Crain’s reported. It already has offices in the area, comprising the entire 230,000-square-foot Sterling Bay building at 320 North Morgan Street, and another lease at 210 North Carpenter Street for a total of 500,000 square feet in the area.

Trammell Crow developed the 425,000-square-foot building at 400 North Aberdeen on speculation with no tenants signed in advance, meaning the Google lease is another boon for Fulton Market. The area landed top-tier tenants even through the pandemic and is the city’s only office district where vacancies declined during the crisis.

Google’s commitment Wednesday to physical workplaces – its parent company plans a $9.5 billion investment in offices and data centers, up from $7.5 billion last year – is also good news for wider downtown office markets struggling with vacancies. Its move to 320 North Morgan almost a decade ago sparked corporate migrations to the former Chicago meatpacking district now teeming with busy retail between shiny new office towers.

Google could even further expand from the 200,000 square feet it is considering on Aberdeen. It aims to keep hiring in Chicago to add its 1,800 local employees, with several hundred hired in the last two years and plans to add more, Crain’s reported.

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Even more Chicago square footage could have been occupied by the company if not for the pandemic. It had a deal with Sterling Bay to build a new 18-story building at 1000 West Carroll Avenue that Google would have owned, but it was shelved as the pandemic struck Illinois in 2020, Crain’s reported, citing a 2020 lawsuit involving the former Ace Hotel near the site.

Trammell Crow landing Google is also a shift from the tenants it was expecting at the site. The 16-story structure was built as a life sciences lab, and remains mostly empty after its completion earlier this year.

[Crain’s] – Sam Lounsberry 

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