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WESTCHESTER, IL-Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc.’s 37,432-sf lease at Equity Office Properties Trust’s 1.1-million-sf Westbrook Corporate Center is considered another sign of the slow but sure improvement in the East-West Corridor office market. Various estimates this year have pegged total vacancy, including sublease space, at nearly 30% in the largest suburban submarket.

“As new jobs are created, we continue to experience an increase in leasing activity along the East-West Corridor,” says Diane Morefield, recently promoted to senior vice president for Equity Office Property’s Chicago region. Although still among the largest US office REIT’s biggest leasing challenges, vacancy at the five-building complex along Cermak Road east of the Tri-State Tollway improves to 19% with the lease.

While the lease helps the East-West Corridor improve its health, it comes at the expense of the Northwest suburban submarket, as Insurance Auto Auctions leaves its current headquarters in Schaumburg at 850 E. Algonquin Rd. Although terms were not disclosed, Equity Office Property is advertising more than 200,000 sf of space at Westbrook Corporate Center at $25 per sf gross. The REIT offered “an attractive economic package” to lure the company that deals in vehicles declared a total loss after collisions, says Rob Salbego of Equis Co., who represented Insurance Auto Auctions with Derek Tucker. Director of leasing Lyle Patterson handled negotiations for Equity Office Properties.

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