CHICAGO-The biggest deal on Wacker Drive this week might not involve commodity, interest rate or foreign currency futures. A top contender is the 445,000-sf lease renewal and expansion for Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. at 10 and 30 S. Wacker Dr., one of the largest deals of the year.

Equity Office Properties Trust senior vice president Arvid Povilaitis tells the futures exchange ultimately opted against moving some back-office operations to Vornado Realty Trust’s Apparel Center as well as suburban locations, instead signing a five-year renewal through November 2008. Although he declines to reveal the rate, average rent paid at 10 and 30 S. Wacker Dr. is $37.30 per sf, according to the REIT’s most recent quarterly report, which would make the deal worth about $83 million a year.

“We’re pleased with the rate,” Povilaitis offers.

The largest futures exchange in the US already had 401,000 sf in the 2-million-sf complex along the Chicago River, built in 1983 to serve as its headquarters. Equity Office Properties Trust owns 75% of 10 and 30 S. Wacker Dr. while Lend Lease US Office Trust owns 25%.

“Ultimately, they chose the quality of the building, it’s location, and the deal that we could work out for them,” Povilaitis tells The West Loop location is a block from Metra’s two busiest commuter terminals, and major expressways are a few blocks away for those traders and employees who drive, he notes.

The deal involves creation of a new address—20 S. Wacker Dr.—as well as a private Chicago Mercantile Exchange entrance there. The current entrance for the anchor tenant is on Monroe Street, the south end of the 30 S. Wacker Dr. tower. The new entrance will be near the ramp leading down to the building’s parking garage, Povilaitis says.

“While CME was offered attractive and aggressive relocation alternatives, it was our objective to create economic flexibility while strengthening our identity and presence on Wacker Drive,” says Terry Duffy, chairman of the futures exchange, in a statement. “Our history at the CME Center, coupled with our negotiations with Equity Office, allowed us to accomplish both of those objectives.”

Povilaitis adds the longstanding relationship between the property owners and anchor tenant “helps overcome hurdles” in a competitive Downtown office market.

Holly Duran and Richard Schulz of The Levy Organization Real Estate Services represented Chicago Mercantile Exchange while C.J. Dempsey handled negotiations for Equity Office Properties.

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