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HIGHLAND PARK, IL-Dick Blick Holdings Inc. has taken advantage of a tenants’ market with an early office lease renegotiation for its 21,000-square-foot office. The art supply source has signed a long-term lease renewal for its corporate headquarters at 1849 Green Bay Rd. The company has occupied a portion of the 218,000-square-foot, four-story Renaissance Place building, which is anchored by Landmark Theatres, since it was developed in 2000.

“It’s a tenant’s market, and a move and relocation today is very disruptive and expensive,” says Pamela Rose, an SVP with MB Real Estate, who represented the company in its current lease, as well as in its original lease nearly a decade ago. “Companies are focusing on being productive and lowering expenses as much as possible.”

Building owner Metzler US Real Estate fund was represented by Dick Spinell of Mid-America Real Estate Group in the lease.

An increasing number of companies are attempting to capitalize on a weak marketplace and renegotiate terms early, regardless of whether the lease expiration is near. Rose says about 50% of her deals in recent months have been renegotiations, and that she is seeing a 20% to 30% reduction of rates in many new leases signed.

Dick Blick got a similar “substantially reduced rate,” Rose says, but declined to specify on exact numbers.

Renaissance Place is in the north suburban submarket, where occupancy rates are around 83% and asking lease rates around $27 per square foot gross, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s Q4 office market report.

“It’s hurting like all markets, but this building is fully leased right now,” Rose says. “Downtown Highland Park is a very nice, unique location, offering great transportation from the city, and this complex has restaurants, shops and a movie theater. Dick Blick considered various options and decided to extend where they’re at, because we got a very good deal and it made economic sense this way.”

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