CHICAGO-Jones Lang LaSalle has increased the occupancy to 75% at 600 W. Chicago Ave. in the River North neighborhood. In the past 12 months, the percentage of sf leased has increased by 15%, says leasing agent Brad Despot.

In the past two years, Jones Lang LaSalle has leased about 450,000 sf. “Specifically in 2006 we have attracted some pretty big names, and I think that kind of picked up on the momentum of 2005,” he says.

One of the major new leases was the Big Ten Network, who signed in August a lease for 44,000 sf of office and studio space. Celsis Inc., a provider of products and services to the pharmaceutical and consumer products industries, will be approximately doubling their office space to 18,000 sf on the sixth floor, Despot says. Both Big Ten Network and Celsis are expected to take occupancy this summer.

Echo Global Logistics had been sharing space with Innerworkings in the building and has signed a lease for 28,000 sf of their own space, Despot says. Existing tenants Jump Trading is more than doubling its space from 13,000 sf to 28,000 sf and ProActive Marketing nearly doubled their space from 13,000 sf to 32,000 sf.

Despot says the increase in the occupancy rate is partly due to more people becoming aware of what the building has to offer. “I think, for the most part, it is people sort of starting to realize the building’s viability to major uses,” he says. The building offers many perks such as a loft-feel, the ability for large open layouts, a shuttle that runs from the building to major commuter train stations and to Michigan Avenue during lunchtime and the River Walk. There are also a few restaurants in the building, such as Japonais, Kitsch’n River North and the Motel Bar.

The class B building was built in 1908 and renovated in 2000, and was initially renovated to cater to the technology industry. The 1.6-million-sf building now serves firms across a wide spectrum of industries including Bankers Life and Casualty Co. and the Wrigley Co.

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