CHICAGO-Earlier this year, the Quaker Oats Co. revealed that it wouldrelocate its world headquarters from 321 N. Clark St. to about 325,000 sf atFifield Realty Corp.’s Concord Place project, a 17-story, 430,000 sf officebuilding at 555 W. Monroe St. The city arranged $9.75 million inTIF funds in order to keep Quaker from relocating to the suburbs, possiblynorth suburban Glenview.

However, some of the details of the lease might change with PepsiCo’splanned acquisition of Quaker. Pepsi acquired Quaker in order to augment itsbeverage line with Gatorade and its Frito-Lay snacks with Quaker’s granolabars and rice cakes. It’s conceivable that Quaker’s non-snack food businesscould be sold off and less space needed at the new headquarters.

Original plans called for Quaker to occupy about 80% of the building with 1,100 employees. The site will also have about 5,500 sf of retail. Amenitiesof the limestone pre-cast building would include a double story lobby,fitness center, executive parking within the building, eight high speedelevators, dedicated freight elevator, advanced security systems andoversized vertical risers to accommodate communication and electrical needs.

Fifield’s partner for Concord Place is CB Richard Ellis Strategic PartnersFund. Lenders of the project, valued at $300 million, include Key Bank,Mellon Bank and Union Labor Life Insurance Co. Fifield is reportedlycontemplating two more similarly sized buildings on the same block. This isevidence of the increasing popularity of Chicago’s West Loop with thebusiness community due to its proximity to expressways and commuter railstations.

Published reports have stated that the city’s TIF agreement calls for Quakerto remain at the location for 10 years. Quaker spokesperson Mark Dollinstells that the firm is committed to the move, which is scheduledto take place in fall 2002. He also stated that it’s too early to comment onany possible downsizing.

Pepsi conceivably could cut almost a third of Quaker’s current payroll.Whatever is left of Quaker after the move would have to maintain at least800 employees in the new headquarters and another 262 elsewhere in the city.Otherwise the TIF funds would have to be paid back to the city.Fifield SVP Tom Saletta and VP John Bucheleres tell that thefirm is not worried about Quaker’s possible downsizing at this time. Itwould take significantly less than the original 325,000-sf lease for the TIFfunds to be in jeopardy. But they would not disclose what that amount wouldbe.

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