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CHICAGO-IMC Chicago has nearly tripled its space with a lease expansion to 52,000 square feet at the Sears Tower. The proprietary trading firm, which will occupy the entire 43rd floor of the 110-story building at 233 S. Wacker, also extended its lease through 2020 in the deal. This move represents the firm’s fourth expansion since starting with 6,500 square feet in the building just over two years ago.

“IMC Chicago has had some great success since coming to the building in not only their core business, but in their ability to recruit,” says Mike Kazmierczak, SVP with US Equities Asset Management LLC, the building’s management and leasing agent. “This is their only US location and one of the contributing factors was that they wanted to pick an iconic location like the Sears Tower. In a tough time, they’ve had remarkable success.”

Previously located in around 18,000 square feet on the building’s 46th floor, IMC is expected to move to its new location on the 43rd floor in July. IMC was represented in the deal by Matt Carolan of Jones Lang LaSalle.

The 3.8-million-sf Sears Tower is currently about 82% occupied, according to Kazmierczak. Asking lease rates at the West Loop property range from $15 to $20 per square foot, net, depending on location in the building, Kazmierczak says. The West Loop’s occupancy rate is below 88%, with average asking lease rates around $39 per square foot, net, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s year-end office market report.

“Generally speaking, most of the new development has occurred in the West Loop and looking at a snapshot of the last two years, you’d think the West Loop was a great submarket,” Kazmierczak tells GlobeSt.com. “However, in the last two quarters, there’s been an extreme slowdown. New development has all but ceased and a lot of sublease space has come onto the market.”

The West Loop property is owned by 233 S. Wacker LLC, which includes American Landmark Properties, the Chetrit Group and the Moinian Group.

US Equities representatives declined to comment on reports that ownership is considering painting the world famous building silver. The change is reportedly hoped to improve energy efficiency as well as increase the buzz and attention surrounding the building, which in turn could boost occupancy.

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