Real estate tech firm leases 77K sf in LaSalle Street office tower

Google’s renovated Thompson Center a key factor in Lessen’s relocation plan

Real Estate Tech Firm Leases 77K sf in Downtown Chicago
Lessen's Jay McKee with 203 North LaSalle Street (Loopnet, LinkedIn)

An up-and-coming real estate technology company will relocate to a Loop office tower that’s poised to reap the benefits of Google’s Thompson Center. 

Arizona-based Lessen has leased roughly 77,000 square feet at 203 North LaSalle Street, a 27-story building owned by Japanese investment firm Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, CoStar reported

Lessen last year acquired SMS Assist, a real estate tech firm whose investors included Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s former venture capital fund, for $950 million. That deal conjoined two companies that connect property owners and managers with contractors and maintenance providers.

SMS Assist will exit 114,000 square feet in Prudential Plaza, at 130 East Randolph Street. Lessen is expected to exercise a $7.5 million option to end that lease by early 2026.

That would add to the glut of office space in Chicago, where vacancies topped 25 percent for the first time ever last quarter. Such downsizings have become common since the pandemic triggered the remote-work era.

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However, there are some reasons to be optimistic. The Thompson Center, which sits across the street from 203 North LaSalle and is in the midst of a major overhaul, is poised to revitalize the Central Loop as a vibrant office submarket. Google’s presence is expected to attract development and foot traffic, influencing the area’s resurgence. 

The renovation project was a motivating factor in Lessen’s decision, company CEO Jay McKee told the outlet. 

In addition, JPMorgan’s decision to renovate its 60-story namesake tower, along with several office-to-residential conversions endorsed by Mayor Brandon Johnson, are expected to further reinvigorate the LaSalle Street corridor.

The North LaSalle building, which is nearly 80 percent leased, recently underwent a $22 million renovation, enhancing the conference and fitness centers and tenant lounge. Sumitomo had considered selling the tower in late 2022 but opted against it due to sluggish office sales in Chicago.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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From left: Lessen CEO Jay McKee and SMS Assist CEO Marc Shiffman (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty, Lessen, SMS Assist)
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