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CHICAGO-Aetna Inc., headquartered in Hartford, has signed a lease for 54,348 sf at One South Wacker Dr. Aetna Inc. will occupy 1.5 floors of the 40-story building and will bump the occupancy from 84% leased to 90% leased, says Michael Curran, leasing director with Jones Lang LaSalle. Curran and Steve Smith, also with Jones Lang LaSalle, represented building owner TIAA-CREF. Aetna was represented by Jim Philbin.

The term of the lease is 7.5 years, Curran says. The lease included yearly escalations and incentives including tenant improvement dollars consistent with what a tenant would receive on that length of a lease and a free rent component. Curran would not disclose the lease rate but says the low-rise portion of the building is being marketed at $17 per sf to $19 per sf net. The high-rise portion of the building is being marketed at between $20 per sf to $23 per sf net, he says.

Aetna Inc. is moving from 100 N. Riverside Plaza, where it occupied around 100,000 sf, says Curran, adding Aetna Inc. was downsizing. “I think that one of the things that were attractive to Aetna was that our building has significantly larger floor plates,” Curran says. At 100 N. Riverside Plaza, Aetna was occupying four or five floors of approximately 22,000 sf, but will be able to have larger floor plates of between 35,000 sf and 36,000 sf on the 12th and 13th floors at One S. Wacker, Curran says. Another perk for Aetna Inc. is that they will be able to have their name on a monument sign in front of the building, he says.

One South Wacker, a 1.2-million-sf building, was purchased by TIAA-CREF for about $209 million in 2002. The building has undergone renovations during the past two years totaling $7 million, Curran says. Work included the renovation of the exterior plaza in front of the building, elevator renovations, work on the common corridors and bathrooms and the addition of a fitness center to the building. Lloyd’s, a white-table cloth restaurant, was also added to the building, Curran says.

The largest tenant in the building is accounting firm RSM McGlandrey. Other major tenants include Atlantic Trust Group, Bank of America, Citigroup, Fannie Mae and Dow Jones. Stout Risius Ross signed an 11-year lease in March for 24,761 sf.

Aetna Inc. is taking the last remaining low-rise space in the building and the lease “helps further stabilize the building,” Curran says. Jones Lang LaSalle has secured more than 30 leases for the building, totaling more than 600,000 sf, since 2002. Curran says the market has been improving, particularly in the West Loop, because there is less space available. Curran said they have been seeing more activity, have been decrease in concessions and free rent and have been increasing their rates. “As rates go up, we are not getting nearly as much push back as we were in the last couple of years,” he says.

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