FAA inks massive lease in Rosemont 

Largest suburban office lease of 2023 is a significant downsizing

Federal Aviation Administration Inks Massive Lease In Rosemont
FAA's Timothy Arel with 9600 West Bryn Mawr Avenue (Federal Aviation Administration, Google Maps, Getty)

A federal agency just signed the largest suburban office lease of the year, but it’s a downsizing move that will add to the mountain of empty office space in Chicagoland. 

The Federal Aviation Administration will relocate in 2026 to a 108,000-square-foot space in the O’Hare Gateway Office Center in Rosemont, CoStar reported. That’s a reduction from the 186,000 square feet it occupies at 2300 East Devon Avenue in Des Plaines. 

O’Hare Gateway, comprising two towers at 9500 and 9600 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, was purchased for $73.5 million in 2002 by Coca-Cola bottling magnate Marvin Herb. The property is 95 percent lease, the outlet reported. 

The FAA lease comes against the backdrop of a challenging fiscal environment in the real estate market. Demand for office space continues to dwindle nationwide amid persistent remote-work trends stemming from the pandemic, and the FAA faced obstacles in securing a suitable space. 

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Earlier plans to lease 116,000 square feet at the Atrium in Rolling Meadows were abandoned due to the property’s redevelopment. A $30 million foreclosure lawsuit was filed against the Atrium’s previous owner, Spear Street Capital. Brennan Investment Group bought it with plans to demolish the office building and develop an industrial complex. 

The FAA’s office in Des Plaines houses 550 employees that support various functions such as air traffic, flight safety, airports and human resources. The Rosemont office is roughly 2 miles south. That building spans 279,000 square feet, according to Loopnet, and the FAA leases more than two-thirds of it. 

The downsizing adds to a brutal stretch for suburban Chicago’s office market, which has been in shambles since the pandemic. The suburban vacancy rate soared to a record high of 29 percent at the midyear point. The rate was 22.1 percent at the beginning of 2020.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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