Commerz fills WeWork’s old Loop space with another coworking firm

Workbox leasing 29K sf in the National building

Commerz Fills WeWork’s Loop Void With New Coworking Firm
Workbox's John Wallace with 125 South Clark Street (Workbox, Google Maps, Getty)

Commerz Real just filled part of a void in its historic Loop office tower by replacing one coworking firm with another.

Flex office space provider Workbox has signed a roughly 29,000-square-foot lease in the 20-story National building at 125 South Clark Street, occupying part of WeWork’s former space, CoStar reported.

The lease comes more than seven months after Germany-based Commerz filed a $360,000 eviction lawsuit against WeWork, which filed for bankruptcy last month. WeWork previously occupied 112,000 square feet in the National, thus creating a massive vacancy for Commerz to fill, even though the coworking firm’s lease wasn’t initially set to expire until 2033.

Workbox, known for catering to early- and growth-stage companies, plans to occupy part of WeWork’s former space, on the building’s 17th floor. As Workbox expands, the company is exploring additional locations in Chicago and other markets.

Avison Young broker Michael Kloppenburg represented Workbox in the deal, while Transwestern’s John Nelson, Kathleen Bertrand and Eric Myers represented German-based Commerz, which bought the building in 2018.

Separately, existing tenant Iron Galaxy Studios, a Chicago-based video game developer, has expanded its lease from 32,865 to 48,156 square feet in the tower, adding to a slew of recent lease signings at the site, including commitments from Total Quality Logistics and SpotHero. 

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Despite demand for office space hitting an all-time low amid stubborn remote-work trends and other economic challenges, the National is now almost 86 percent occupied after notching leases of more than 117,000 square feet this year, the outlet reported. That’s considerably better than Chicago’s average office occupancy rate of about 76 percent.

The National building was designed by Daniel Burnham and completed in 1907. Its rich history and ideal location in the Loop business district has been a draw for some tenants.

Elsewhere on the Chicagoland coworking scene, IWG this week announced it’s planning a big expansion of 21 new spaces in Illinois, almost all of them in Chicago’s suburbs.

And the fallout from WeWork’s financial struggles is playing out in local courts: WeWork is facing an eviction lawsuit at 448 North LaSalle Street as well as a separate lawsuit brought by landlord Michael Alter, who is alleging that WeWork hasn’t funded a nearly $12 million lease termination payment it agreed to for leaving a River North tower well ahead of schedule.

— Quinn Donoghue 

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