OAKBROOK TERRACE, IL-Electric utility Commonwealth Edison has signed a lease agreement for 430,000 sf at the Lincoln Centre complex in Oakbrook Terrace, a suburb in Chicago’s west suburban market in DuPage County. The project, a joint venture of developer Lincoln Property Co. and the Prudential Life Insurance Co. of America, is located at the intersection of 22nd Street and Butterfield Road. The deal is reported to the largest suburban office lease signed this year, and may well be the largest in the DuPage market in several years.

ComEd will relocate approximately 1,800 employees into two new buildings that were originally built on speculation. Dallas-based Lincoln Property started the Lincoln Centre complex in 1986 with a single building. Due to market conditions, the firm held off until 1999 when it decided to build two new buildings, one 10 stories, the other six stories, known as Lincoln Centre II and III.

ComEd will use the new space to consolidate its suburban operations. Employees will move from about six offices, but the majority will relocate from Oak Brook, Willowbrook and Bolingbrook. Departments moving include engineering, planning, information services, human resources, contracting and supply units and the transmission and distribution group. According to a spokesperson for ComEd, the utility does not plan to close any of the office space the employees will leave, but will research the best use of the space within the company.

ComEd is a subsidiary of Exelon Corp., following the merger of Unicom Corp. with Philadelphia-based Peco Energy Co. Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. advised ComEd in the transaction, which had considered several other west suburban locations. ComEd will relocate in early to mid-January 2001.

Oakbrook Terrace Mayor William Kallas is a 30-year veteran of the Chicagoland real estate industry as a commercial office broker with over 1,000 deals under his belt. Two of the firms he worked for were Helmsley-Spear and L.J. Sheridan & Co. Back in the 1970s he participated in two suburban leases that were considered the largest for their time.

Kallas feels that the ComEd transaction will foster more development in his town where he has been mayor for eight years. Oakbrook Terrace currently has 4 million sf of office space. It has a daytime population of over 40,000, but a residential population of 2,500. In that sense, it’s similar to Rosemont, a northwest suburb of Chicago near O’Hare Airport. Both towns support more jobs than residents.

According to Kallas, the original PUD for Lincoln Centre could allow a Lincoln Centre IV with approximately 200,000 sf. There is also a seven-acre vacant site northwest of Lincoln Centre that could possibly accommodate a 175,000-sf project.

Finally, Kallas feels that the ComEd deal ultimately will be a boon to suburban neighbors Oak Brook and Lombard, which harbor major shopping centers such as Oak Brook Mall and Yorktown Shopping Center that ComEd employees on their way to and from work will visit. Or, ComEd employees may choose to relocate to neighboring suburbs for housing.

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