Leapfrog Brands jumps to Goose Island, ditching Fulton Market

Drinkware designer taking 16k SF at building owned by Goldman Sachs, R2

1400 North Kingsbury Street and Leapfrog Brands president Rick Ellison
1400 North Kingsbury Street and Leapfrog Brands president Rick Ellison (Loopnet, Leapfrog)

Chicago-based drinkware designer Leapfrog Brands is jumping to Goose Island.

The company will occupy 16,000 square feet at 1400 North Kingsbury Street, doubling its footprint and leaving its current Fulton Market headquarters at 159 North Racine Avenue. Leapfrog is growing and requiring its workers to come into the office at least four days a week, said CBRE’s Liz McCleary, who represented the tenant in leasing negotiations. 

The three-story, 101,000-square-foot office loft is co-owned by Goldman Sachs and Chicago developer R2 Companies. R2’s Matt Duhig, Madison Rose’s Abby McFadyen, and Matt Pistorio, Madison Rose’s founder and R2 principal, represented the building’s owner in leasing negotiations.

Both Goose Island and Fulton Market are bright spots in Chicago’s troubled office market, with trendy spaces that retained tenants during the pandemic. They stand in contrast to the aging Loop office buildings that have seen steep declines in value and record-high vacancy. Still, Fulton Market has seen some tenants pull back and list space for sublease in recent weeks.

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Goose Island has been pitched to tenants as an easy-to-access office location, that, for now, is free from the hustle, bustle and ultra-high rents that Fulton Market has gained as it became Chicago’s development hotspot. Meanwhile, artificial island in the Chicago River, long solely industrial, has become a hub for tech and design companies seeking boutique office space.

R2, which specializes in adaptive reuse of aging industrial buildings, started buying property on Goose Island in 2014, three years before the city approved zoning changes to allow residential and office development in part of the area.

The firm inked leases totaling 54,000 square feet of office space at three of its properties there late last year, including tech company Azumo’s 22,000 square feet at 1200 North Branch Street.
Return-to-office statistics and mandates offer some hope for Chicago offices, with the Windy City metro area leading the nation in peak-day office occupancy in June. Average occupancy throughout the week rose to almost 55 percent last month, according to data from Kastle Systems. Publicly disclosed return-to-office mandates impacted more than 600,000 office workers nationally in May, according to JLL data.

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