CHICAGO-The new home for the United Airlines headquarters recently landed two lease expansions, totaling almost 35,000 sf in this class A office property, 77 W. Wacker Dr., owned by Prime Group Realty Trust. Global law firm Greenberg Traurig has agreed to expand its lease by 22,565 sf and will now occupy 100,975 sf, while Microsoft has agreed to expand its lease by 12,391 sf, and will now occupy 47,122 sf. Microsoft also extended the term of their lease as well.

This is the second expansion for Greenberg in less than a year. The company, which served as President George W. Bush’s representative in the 2000 Florida recount case, had expanded to 78,413 sf at the 959,791 sf building in January.

Both companies have been in the building for many years, says Jeff Patterson, president and chief executive officer of Prime Group. He tells that the building is now 93% leased. “I think it’s a bit of a two-tiered market in Downtown Chicago. There’s a large gap between the high-quality class A buildings and the older class B buildings, and the former enjoys a dynamic time in this market, from a landlord perspective.”

Although Patterson would not discuss the companies’ lease terms, asking lease rates at the 14-year-old, 51-story building start at $23 per sf. Gregory L. Gerber and Ari Klein from the John Buck Co. represented Greenberg Traurig in its transaction, while Steve Steinmeyer and Chris Kelson of Jones Lang LaSalle represented Microsoft.

United Airlines selected the building as its new headquarters in July. The new location, of which the company will occupy 130,000 sf, will allow the company to consolidate its current operations in Elk Grove Township.

The airline will move 350 employees to a portion of the 225,000 sf left behind by RR Donnelley, and will receive naming rights to the building. RR Donnelley moved to 111 S. Wacker in May 2005. The 77 W. Wacker building is part of Prime Group’s 6.6-million-sf office portfolio acquired by Lakewood, NJ-based Lightstone Group in 2005 for $732.9 million.

The REIT has earmarked $4.4 million in tenant improvements and leasing commissions to the joint venture. The building also recently won the award for the Office Building of the Year by the Building Owners and Managers Association in the 500,000 sf to one-million-sf category.

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