Wheels signs largest suburban lease in over two years

Subleasing 200K sf from Zurich at Schaumburg HQ

Wheels Subleases 200K sf From Zurich at Schaumburg Headquarters
Wheels CEO Shlomo Crandus with Zurich North American headquarters in Schaumburg (Zurich North America, Wheels)

One of the largest fleet management companies in the country just signed the biggest office lease in suburban Chicago in over two years.

Wheels has subleased more than 200,000 square feet at insurance giant Zurich North America’s 783,800-square-foot headquarters in Schaumburg, Crain’s reported. Atlanta-based Stonemont Financial owns the north suburban property. 

The deal is a big win for Stonemont and Zurich, which put 360,000 square feet up for sublease last year. It also bodes well for a suburban office market that’s still getting pummeled by remote-work trends. The suburban vacancy rate rose to 31 percent in the first three months of this year, marking a record for the 13th straight quarter. 

The sublease follows Wheels’ recent expansion through mergers with Bannockburn-based Donlen in 2021 and LeasePlan USA, an industry competitor. The company plans to consolidate its local operations, while maintaining a secondary office in Alpharetta, Georgia.

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Wheels will move from its 83,000-square-foot building in Des Plaines and Donlen’s 73,000-square-foot office in Bannockburn. The consolidation may pose challenges for Baltimore-based Sentinel Net Lease, which acquired the Bannockburn property in 2022, partly relying on securing a long-term lease with Donlen.

While terms of Wheels’ sublease were not disclosed, Zurich’s lease runs through 2042. Zurich continues to market the remaining sublease space.

The village of Schaumburg had previously incentivized Zurich to develop its headquarters, completed in 2016, with expectations of increased local business from its employees. However, the rise of remote work since the pandemic reduced the anticipated foot traffic, prompting Zurich to sue the village over property tax reimbursements. Zurich alleges that the village owes it millions of dollars based on their agreement, which the village argues is only valid if the headquarters provides an economic boost to the area.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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