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CHICAGO-KPMG LLP has signed a 15-year lease for 260,000 square feet at the Aon Center. In August 2012, the audit, tax and advisory firm will move its 1,700 Chicago employees to floors 53 through 61 of the East Loop building at 200 E. Randolph. The company will relocate from another East Loop building, 303 W. Wacker Dr., where it occupies a similar amount of space.

“They like the location in the East Loop and it’s where they’ve been for years,” says Stephen Smith, managing director with Jones Lang LaSalle, which leases Aon Center for building owner Piedmont Office Realty Trust Inc. “The Aon Center is a trophy building with the infrastructure for larger tenants. It’s a step up in terms of quality and amenities.”

The building offers a recently renovated Mid America Club at its top, an updated 243-seat auditorium and connection the the Lakeshore Athletic Club, as well as proximity to retail, restaurants and a post office. Smith says KPMG will also gain identity from increased signage at its new office, as well as the option to grow as needed.

Atlanta-based Piedmont was represented by Smith, Michael Curran and Matt Amato, all of JLL, while Todd Lipmann, Lisa Konieczka and Kyle Kamin of CB Richard Ellis represented KPMG.

Smith says that while the East Loop’s occupancy rate is slightly lower than any other downtown submarket at 13%, it had the most positive absorption last year, with 500,000 square feet absorbed.

“That was the best of any submarket in downtown Chicago and it outperformed all the other submarkets,” he says. “People are seeing there are a lot of benefits over here. There are better views and amenities, proximity to Millennium Park, access to transportation, and ample parking.”

KPMG will back-fill space currently occupied by law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP, whose lease expires in 2011. The Aon Center is about 93% occupied with asking lease rates around $20 per square foot net, Smith says. Other tenants of the building include Aon Corp., for which the building is named, Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, Microsoft, Veolia Environmental Services, Jones Lang LaSalle and Edelman.

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