Inspired by Somerset lures trio of tenants to former AT&T campus

Office leases totaling 86K sf come amid $200M redevelopment

Ralph Zucker’s Firm Lands Three Tenants at Former AT&T Campus

A photo illustration of Inspired by Somerset’s Ralph Zucker along with the former AT&T campus in Hoffman Estates (Getty, Inspired by Somserset, LoopNet)

Inspired by Somerset Development’s decision to overhaul the former AT&T campus in Hoffman Estates just paid off in a big way.

A trio of tenants have signed office leases totaling 86,000 square feet at Bell Works Chicagoland, a 150-acre complex northwest of Chicago that Inspired is turning into a $200 million “metroburb” with residences, retail and office space, Crain’s reported

The largest of the leases came from Convergint, which will occupy 50,000 square feet at the site. The company will relocate from 1 Commerce Drive in Schaumburg, where it leases 40,000 square feet.

Joining Convergint are property management firm First Service Residential, and signage and graphics company Identiti, which have leased 20,000 and 16,000 square feet, respectively, relocating from Elk Grove Village and Schaumbug. First Service Residential will slightly expand its Chicao area footprint with the move.

The leases represent a huge win for a suburban office market that saw its vacancy rate rise to a record high of nearly 31 percent in the first quarter, according to JLL. Since the pandemic, companies have continuously scaled back their operations by relocating to smaller offices or through huge sublease offerings.

The commitments to Bell Works also sheds light on the flight-to-quality trend, in which office tenants flock to redeveloped or new amenity-filled properties in response to evolving workforce needs.

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Inspired bought the former AT&T campus for $21 million in 2019, after it sat vacant for three years. The crown jewel of its “metroburb” is a 1.6 million-square-foot office building. 

Inspired secured its first long-term lease in 2021 and has since secured tenants at a steady rate.  Roughly 80 percent, or 420,000 square feet, of the office building’s eastern portion is leased, giving Inspired CEO Ralph Zucker reason to feel optimistic about the future. 

“It’s very validating,” Zucker told the outlet. “The market is moving in the right direction for us, even though the office market as a whole may not be.”

As the first phase of redevelopment nears completion, plans are underway for a similar revamp of the building’s western portion.

In addition, Zucker revealed that construction will begin within 12 weeks on the campus’s first residential component — 164 townhouses east of the office building. The townhouse project is part of a broader vision that includes apartments and single-family homes.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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