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CHICAGO-Recent lease deals in the Central Business District have been made with an eye towards tenants’ achieving cost efficiency as well as striking deals for expansion in a softening office market, brokers involved say. Leading the way recently is MWH Energy & Infrastructure, Inc., which added another 30,000 sf at 175 W. Jackson Blvd. to a 108,000-sf lease negotiated last year by one of the two companies joined in a merger.

Water-resource engineering company Harza struck the deal at the building that recently completed an $80-million renovation. Harza recently merged with Montgomery Watson to form MWH. “With its comparatively low rents and state-of-the-art technologicalfeatures, 175 W. Jackson offers an excellent value,” says Grubb & Ellis senior vice president Dennis Copeland, who represented MWH.

Advertising agency Williams-Labadie has renewed its lease for 29,527 sf at 57 W. Grand Ave. in River North. Julien J. Studley, Inc. managing director Joshua D.Gorin and senior managing director Terry Mostrom represented Williams-Labadie, affiliated with Leo Burnett Worldwide. Robert Zimmerman represented the building owner, Friedman Properties.

Meanwhile, Ameritech has renewed its lease on 24,000 sf at 400 S. Jefferson St. in River West. Equis Corp. vice president Timothy Cahill represented the subsidiary of SBC Communications, Inc. while Sean Connor of J.B. Connor represented the building owner.

“This lease was renewed after an exhaustive market search and represents the most cost-effective choice that will also maximize the operational efficiencies,” Cahill says.

Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood signed an eight-year, 10,092-sf lease at 55 W. Monroe St., giving the law firm more than 70,000 sf there. Richard Plonsker of Cushman & Wakefield represented Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood while Jeff Barron of U.S. Equities Realty represented the building owner.

Meanwhile, Kelly, Scott & Madison, Inc. has expanded and extended its lease to 25,000 sf at at 35 E. Wacker Dr. Renee Berns of Jones Lang LaSalle represented the building owner while The Staubach Co. Principal Jack Keenan, Managing Principal Rob Schmidt, senior vice president Pam Stamataky and senior associate Mike Hoadley represented Kelly, Scott & Madison.

Time-Life Libraries Inc. signed a new lease for 9,408 sf at 25 E. Washington St. to house a telemarketing group. Plonsker represented Time-Life Libraries while Shelly Shannon of InSite Real Estate represented the building owner.

World Book Inc. has subleased 6,000 sf at 233 N. Michigan Ave. from CIT Group Inc. Frank Franzese, Peter Block, Tamara Kos, Darren Flynn, Ninef Aghakhan and John McIlwain of Cushman & Wakefield represented World Book and CIT Group.

Media buying agency Zenith Media signed a 3,800-sf lease expansion at 875 N. Michigan Ave., giving the firm 11,000 sf at the John Hancock Center. The Cushman & Wakefield team of Franzese, Block, Kos, Flynn, Aghakhan and McIlwain represented Zenith Media while Sharon Valko represented building owner Shorenstein Realty Services.

Schain, Burney, Ross & Citron Ltd. signed a 1,672-sf expansion at 222 N. LaSalle St. Stacey Kruger Birndorf of Cushman & Wakefield represented the law firm while Nancy Gallagher and Kurt Houtkooper of Tishman Speyer Properties represented Folksam Holdings.

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