Parkside fills up Fulton East with Alma, Drive Capital expansions

Medical tech firm doubled office space shortly after opening

Parkside Realty's Bob Wislow with Fulton East at 215 North Peoria Street
Parkside Realty's Bob Wislow with Fulton East at 215 North Peoria Street (Parkside Realty, Fulton East, Getty)

Parkside Realty’s Fulton East has reached full capacity with some growth by existing tenants, including a global medical technology company and a venture capital firm.

Shortly after opening its new offices this spring, laser provider Alma went up to about 26,000 square feet from about 16,000 square feet at 215 North Peoria Street in May, and Drive Capital moved into the building in April, taking up about 10,000 square feet.

The fully leased milestone for Fulton East, a 12-story, 90,000-square-foot office and retail property in the heart of Fulton Market, is yet another reminder that the area is the lone bright spot in Chicago’s struggling office scene.

The Fulton Market/River West office submarket was the only area with positive lease absorption last quarter, at 104,000 square feet, in contrast with downtown Chicago’s net absorption as a whole, which tallied negative 782,000 square feet, according to the brokerage Transwestern.

Still, companies with a presence in Chicago are drawn to the city’s “educated, less expensive and known to be very industrious labor force,” Parkside Realty CEO Bob Wislow said.

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“A lot of that workforce has either gravitated to living around the West Loop, Fulton Market area or like to be in that area,” Wislow told The Real Deal.

Alma occupies two floors in the building as well as the 5,000-square-foot ground floor retail space, where the company opened its first U.S. wellness center. The firm will relocate almost half of its corporate employees to Fulton East while maintaining its distribution center in suburban Buffalo Grove.

Columbus, Ohio-based Drive Capital is taking one floor at Fulton East for its Chicago headquarters, which it’s using to provide office space to early-stage startups. The firm was represented by CBRE’s Tony Coglianese in leasing negotiations.

Fulton East’s other tenants include investment company Calamos Investments, manufacturer Tarkett Flooring and real estate investment firm Partners Enterprise Capital.

This story was updated to add the broker who represented Drive Capital.

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