CHICAGO-Bankers Life and Casualty, based here, has extended its lease for five years at 600 W. Chicago. Bankers has leased 207,536 sf in the 1.7-million-sf building since 2003. The lease, which would have expired in 2013, has been extended until 2018, says Lisa Konieczka, executive vice president with CB Richard Ellis.

Konieczka and Cal Wessman, also with CB Richard Ellis, represented Bankers in the lease transaction. Brad Despot, senior vice president with Jones Lang LaSalle, represented the building owner. A group of New York City investors, led by real estate attorney Victor Gerstein, acquired the building in May for a reported $300 million from a partnership including Taconic Investment Partners, Angelo Gordon & Co. and Centrum Properties Inc.

Bankers moved into the building in 2003 from the Forest Glen community of Chicago and was one of the first major office tenants in the renovated eight-story building at 600 W. Chicago, says Konieczka. The insurance company, which is a subsidiary of Conseco Inc., extended the lease because it is consolidating its space in the building with space it had leased at the Merchandise Mart. Bankers has been leasing 114,000 sf at the Merchandise Mart since 1993 and plans to now sublease the space, she says. The company is not expanding the amount of space it is leasing at 600 W. Chicago and chose the location because it is newer and more contemporary than the Merchandise Mart, Konieczka says. Bankers signed the lease extension now “in order to secure their occupancy and consolidate their operations as well as get some concessions to help with the renovations they need to do at 600 West to accommodate their consolidation,” she says.

The building was constructed in 1908 as a distribution center for Montgomery Ward and was renovated by the previous owners in 2001. The renovation cost near $200 million, Despot says. The building is currently 80% occupied, Despot says. Besides Bankers, other major tenants include Wrigley, the planned Big Ten Network, Innerworkings, Japonais Restaurant and David Barton Gym. The asking lease rate for office space in the building is $25 per sf, gross, Despot tells GlobeSt.com.

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