601W locks in first tenant at redeveloped Canal Street office building 

Developer spent $265M to revamp former Northern Trust building

601W Secures First Tenant at Redeveloped Chicago Office Building
R.M. Chin & Associates' Eileen Chin with 801 South Canal Street (R.M. Chin & Associates, Google Maps, Getty)

New York developer 601W has landed its first tenant at the former Northern Trust office building where it’s invested hundreds of millions to redevelop. 

Project management and construction consulting firm R.M. Chin & Associates has leased 15,400 square feet in the six-story building at 801 South Canal Street, now called Canal Station, Crain’s reported. The lease terms were not disclosed. 

601W has spent roughly $265 million to turn the property into a modern, multi-tenant office property. The project comes at a time when Chicago office users are seeking amenity-rich office environments amid the remote-work era, which drove up the downtown vacant rate past 25 percent for the first time ever in the first quarter, according to CBRE. 

The R.M. Chin lease helps validate 601W’s vision for Canal Station as an attractive office destination. Its lease is expected to enhance collaboration and innovation, while maintaining proximity to Chicago’s central business district.

R.M. Chin will relocate from 500 West 18th Street in Pilsen. The firm’s familiarity with the area likely influenced its decision, helping 601W to overcome perceptions of Canal Station’s relative isolation.

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The Canal Station building, previously nicknamed “Canalcatraz” by Northern Trust employees, faced challenges related to its location. However, 601W and its leasing agency, Telos Group, have capitalized on the broader popularity of the southwest Loop area and 601W’s successful redevelopment of the nearby Old Post Office

Modern updates to Canal Station include an 8,000-square-foot outdoor terrace, streetscaping and an overhauled lobby.

Building amenities and abundant parking were key driver’s in the tenant’s decision to lease, said CBRE’s Bill Sheehy, who represented R.M. Chin in lease negotiations.

Telos Group has positioned Canal Station as a cost-effective option compared to other downtown business districts, with projected annual rents around $45 per square foot. A 601W venture acquired the building for $68 million in January 2020, ahead of Northern Trust’s consolidation into new offices.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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