Industrious returns coworking to Chicago’s River North at former WeWork spot

Flex space providers gearing up for post-pandemic office market

Industrious' Jamie Hodari with 111 West Illinois Street
Industrious' Jamie Hodari with 111 West Illinois Street (Industrious, Commercial Cafe)

Industrious is coming back to Chicago’s River North neighborhood with a new coworking option after closing one last year.

The flex space provider is opening up a 25,600-square-foot space at the Macquarie Group-owned property at 111 West Illinois Street. The return of Industrious to the neighborhood follows the exit of WeWork from the building, and the closure of the similarly sized Industrious space at 320 West Ohio Street in early 2021 after eight years.

The Illinois Street building was bought by German Investor GLL for $75 million in 2015, and that company was bought by Macquarie in 2018.

Salesforce is a longtime tenant of more than 100,000 square feet in the building, where it remains while waiting to expand into 500,000 square feet at its new namesake tower at Wolf Point. Construction on that property just topped off and is expected to be completed next year, which is also when the Salesforce lease was reported to be expiring.

The decision by Industrious to beef up its Chicago-area presence with enough space for 350 seats comes on the heels of other coworking providers taking bullish stances on the city.

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WeWork just took 93,500 square feet in a Fulton Market building developed by Shapack Partners, the Swiss company International Workplace just expanded into its 49th Chicago-area location with a 10-year lease for 29,000 square feet at the new Bank of America tower, and Life Time Fitness just opened a 39,000-square-foot coworking space at its River North athletic club and will soon have more than 10 coworking options at or near its gyms across the country.

Analysts have predicted flexible lease terms friendly to small businesses will be in high demand in the post-pandemic office market that so far has seen many companies shrink their leases. Such an environment would give a boost to coworking providers.

“We’re happy to be back in River North,” Doug Feinberg of Industrious said in a statement that nodded to the neighborhood’s reputable nightlife. “Our latest River North location is perfect for members who prioritize work as much as they do play.”

Industrious plans to have its newest coworking spot open by August. It is the company’s eighth location in Chicago and the suburbs.

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