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CHICAGO-Thornton Tomasetti Inc., an international engineering design firm, has signed a leased for 25,045 sf at the former IBM Building, 330 N. Wabash Ave. The company expects to move into the space in January.

Peggy McTigue, SVP with CB Richard Ellis Inc., represented Thornton in the lease transaction. Building owner Prime Group Realty Trust was represented in the lease transaction by Anita Pallardy, SVP with the REIT.

The firm has leased 15,000 sf at 14 E. Jackson since 1999. Thornton needed to expand and was attracted to the former IBM building because its architecture and “they absolutely loved the improvements that the Prime Group Realty Trust has made,” McTigue says. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning system has been redone for several floors, including the 15th floor, which the firm will occupy, she says. The building will receive a property tax reduction by approximately 50% for a 12-year period, due to a landmark tax status, once renovations to convert 12 floors to a hotel are complete, she says. The reduction in real estate taxes will reduce the tenants’ gross rental rates. The cost for operating expenses and taxes is currently approximately $15 per sf, McTigue says. The asking lease rate is between $19 per sf and $20 per sf net.

The office space in the building is more than 90% leased. However, Jenner & Block, the major tenant in the building, plans to move to a new building at 353 N. Clark.

The 1.5-million-sf 330 N. Wabash, which is a designated Chicago landmark, was designed by Mies Van der Rohe and constructed in 1971. This spring, Prime Group sold floors two through 13 to a joint venture between an affiliate of Chicago-based Oxford Capital Group LLC and LaSalle Hotel Properties, based in Bethesda, MD for $46 million, as previously reported by GlobeSt.com. The joint venture plans to open a hotel on the floors in early 2010.

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