The famous Merchandise Mart that was once showroom space is now one of Chicago’s main tech destinations. With 3.46M square feet facing Chicago’s river, the Mart once had its own zip code. The property was originally built by Marshall Fields as a single wholesale center for the entire nation. Over the last 10 years the Mart’s owners, Vornado, have been slowly converting much of the showroom space to office space. Companies such as Illinois Institute of Art, International Interior Design Association, Motorola, MSDS Online, Origami Risk, Potbelly Corporate Offices, Publicis, Yelp, and many others have called the Mart home.
Of the 24 stories, 14 are occupied by office and tech tenants today. The first and second floors are an interior shopping arcade and the building has 19 restaurants including a 400+ seat food court (i.e. Protein Bar, Argo Tea, FedEx, Pret & Starbuck’s to name a few). The Mart might offer limited parking, but the CTA’s brown and purple lines do stop within the building. The property is at the intersection of Chicago’s north and south branch of the river, making it accessible to most of the Chicago CBD. Additional amenities include River North Gym, a riverfront park, and a wifi communal lounge along the lobby.
With all this energy and activity it’s easy to see what draws many of Chicago’s TAMI tenants to the Mart. Start-ups can turn to 1871 for incubator/shared office requirements, but from there tenants usually run into issues finding the mid-size space unless they are among corporate giants like Motorola or Publicis. Sublease opportunities are one of the main paths to finding a mid-size option at a discounted rate in a building that seems to only be increasing in demand (which often leads to heightened prices).
Motorola is subletting up to 113,000 RSF on the 17th floor of the Mart (can be divisible). The term is available through 6/30/2028. With such a big block, the space does include dedicated passenger elevators, a private roof deck, and ‘town hall’ meeting space. The existing furniture and A/V equipment can be made available if desired.
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