ARCO/Murray doubles down on office space with West Loop sublease

Construction firm recently left Fulton Market and signed 10-year River North lease and 3.5-year sublease of Antares Capital’s former space at 500 W. Monroe St.

ARCO/Murray Inks West Loop Sublease in Former Antares Space
ARCO/Murray's Ross Allen with 500 West Monroe (ARCO/Murray, Google Maps, Getty)

Construction firm ARCO/Murray is doubling down on its Chicago office leasing, even as the sector’s vacancies are at record highs, particularly in the Loop, and buildings are hitting the auction block at bargain prices.

And unlike many other major companies in Chicago, the firm is leaving trendy Fulton Market for office buildings closer to the Loop.

ARCO/Murray recently left its office space in Fulton Market and signed a three-and-a-half year sublease from investment firm Antares Capital at 500 West Monroe Street in the West Loop, just west of the Chicago River.

Antares didn’t shed all of its space with the deal at the Spear Street Capital-owned building. The company originally signed a 70,000 square foot lease at the property and ARCO/Murray will occupy 28,700 square feet of it. Antares began shopping its 500 West Monroe space on the secondary market after inking an 88,000-square-foot lease at the new BMO Tower two blocks south.

ARCO/Murray’s Ross Allen said that despite Fulton Market’s popularity, the new office has had unexpected benefits. ARCO previously used office space in a co-working setup called Salt Flats Innovation House at 113 North May Street, but Salt Flats’ deal with landlord Vista Properties ended up in an eviction case.

The new ARCO/Murray offices on Monroe offer more proximity to public transit via Union Station and nearly every CTA line gave it an advantage over Fulton Market, where transportation options are more limited, Allen said. The copious dining options in the West Loop Gate help it compete with Fulton Market’s trendy restaurant scene as well, he added.

“I think we’re going to stay in this area long-term because the convenience is remarkable,” he said, adding that the firm may consider buying an office building if the right bargain comes along.

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ARCO/Murrary has about 60 employees working out of its 500 West Monroe sublease. Matt Cowie, Bill Sheehy and Mark Cassata of CBRE brokered the deal between ARCO/Murray and Antares.

The construction firm also signed a 10-year lease at an ARCO/Murrary-built property in River North in April. Another 80 employees work out of the 16,300-square-foot office at 311 West Huron. The two new leases join ARCO/Murray’s existing 16,300-square-foot River North lease at 311 West Huron Street signed in 2022 and its sublease of office space at 549 West Randolph.

Meanwhile, in the Chicago suburbs — where office vacancies are higher and there’s some even more severe distress than downtown — ARCO/Murray is finishing building out its headquarters. At 3113 Woodcreek Drive in Downers Grove, the company is set to open a new 125,000-square-foot office in the fall, where more than 200 employees will work.

Although Allen said he understands the appeal of downtown offices, buying the suburban property gave the construction firm the opportunity to build a showroom-style space to attract new clients. It includes golf and Formula 1 simulators that ARCO/Murray has built for clients all over the U.S.

“It’ll be a great thing when we bring clients here to be able to show them in person a lot of the different stuff that we’re doing,” he said.

The showroom-style property could be an example of a way new owners can breathe life into Chicagoland suburban properties, one of which sold for as little as $7 a square foot in in the last year.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the details of ARCO/Murray’s leases.

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