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CHICAGO-Bridge Strategy Group has doubled its space to 20,000 sf at One N. Franklin. The company has been 10,000 sf in the 643,503-sf West Loop building for seven years, on the 21st floor. The consulting firm was recently purchased by India-based global IT company Satyam, and renewed its lease for a short period to provide more time to evaluate options before making a commitment elsewhere.

“They had a lease coming up in early 2009, and because of their acquisition, they’re still in the planning mode for growth,” says UGL Equis SVP Steve Schneider, who represented the company in the lease. “They wanted to understand their growth, what their needs were and future headcount projections before they made a long-term commitment somewhere, and they weren’t quite there yet. They are heavily packed-in right now, and there was existing sublease space in the building that allowed them to relieve some of the pressure.”

Bridge, based in Chicago, currently has 50 employees, but is looking to hire more people. The firm will sublease the space on the 23rd floor from Business.com for the remainder of its lease. Tishman Speyer, owner of the 36-story building constructed in 1992, was represented in-house by Ellen May.

Asking lease rates in the building are around $23 per sf, net, Schneider says. The building is about 95% leased currently, but has some substantial space being freed up in early 2010, when American Hospital Association moves out of 75,000 sf on floors 27 through 33.

Schneider says 1 N. Franklin may not be the only building in the West Loop submarket facing increasing vacancies in the future. “As of today, it’s got a pretty high occupancy rate,” Schneider says. “However, with all these new buildings going up downtown, as well as with financial institutions putting space on the market toward the end of this year and beginning of 2009, we expect to see some significant vacancy in the next two years.”

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