Downs and ups: Alight slashes footprint 90% in move to BMO Tower penthouse

Will take 16K sf in Loop with relocation from Lincolnshire

Alight Solutions CEO Stephan Scholl and BMO Tower
Alight Solutions CEO Stephan Scholl and BMO Tower (Alight, Google Maps)

Another company is dramatically slashing its office footprint, adding to suburban Chicago’s sky-high vacancy rate while tallying a small win for downtown. 

Tech company Alight Solutions, whose CEO is Stephan Scholl, is ditching its 200,000-square-foot space in Lincolnshire and moving into a 16,000-square-foot space in the BMO Tower at 320 South Canal Street, Crain’s reported

The 52-story building, owned by Riverside Investment & Development and Convexity Properties, will serve as the new headquarters for Alight. The company will relocate when its lease in the north suburb expires next year.

The deal is another blow to the Chicago suburbs, where the office vacancy rate soared to a record-high of 29 percent last quarter. Vacancies are high in the downtown area as well, but Loop landlords are faring better, as Class A buildings in the central business district are more likely to lure employees back to the office.

“There’s a real draw to being downtown,” Scholl told the outlet. “It’s about hiring the right people and keeping the right people, but it’s also about bringing clients in.”

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The Alight lease also extends a winning streak for the joint venture of Riverside and Complexity, which completed the 1.5 million-square-foot BMO Tower last year. Beer company Molson Coors and Antares Capital recently leased a combined 170,000 square feet in the building, upping its occupancy rate to roughly 77 percent. 

In Lincolnshire, meanwhile, Realty Income is likely in a scramble to find new tenants amid Alight’s departure plans. The San Diego-based firm, which owns the office building at 4 Overlook Point, acquired the site in 2021 through a merger with Phoenix-based Vereit. 

Lincolnshire village official Ben Roesler is worried that Alight’s exit will hurt the town’s overall economy, especially since it was already struggling from the pandemic.

“Those employees are no longer visiting our restaurants or hosting clients, and that has a direct impact on our revenues,” Roesler told the outlet. “We would love to keep Alight (as) part of Lincolnshire, but understand they and other office tenants have hard decisions to make when it comes to lease payments and recruiting workers.”

—Quinn Donoghue 

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