CHICAGO-Electric power industry consultant Sargent & Lundy has renewed and expanded its lease at 55 E. Monroe St., now occupying 360,000 sf in Tishman Speyer Properties’ East Loop building. The deal is the largest lease signed Downtown this year, topping Boeing Corp.’s 250,000-sf deal at 100 N. Riverside Plaza as well as Piper Marbury Rudnick & Wolfe LLP’s 235,000-sf deal at 203 N.LaSalle St.

“The key challenge of the deal was making available 76,000 sf for occupancy by Nov. 1 in the face of the building’s 2.2% vacancy level,” says Stacey Kruger Birndorf, a director in Cushman & Wakefield’s office brokerage services group.

The 50-story, 2.3-million-sf office tower built in 1974 is faring much better than the rest of the East Loop submarket, where the second-quarter direct vacancy rate was 12.5%, according to U.S. Equities Realty research. While lease terms were not disclosed, net rental rates in the Central Business District are as low as $18 per sf for class A space, and up to $22 per sf for class B space.

Kruger Birndorf and Robert Federighi represented Sargent & Lundy while Vicki Noonan and Kurt Houtkooper of Tishman Speyer Properties represented building ownership, TST 55 East Monroe, LLC.

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