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CHICAGO-US Equities Asset Management LLC has appointed Gary Michon to work as VP and general manager of Willis Tower. The industry veteran brings more than two decades of experience to his new role overseeing daily operations of the 4.5-million-square-foot former Sears Tower. This summer, the 110-story mixed-use building at 233 S. Wacker Dr. has seen large changes – having been renamed for its new insurance company tenant, updated its SkyDeck observation area with new features, and launched a significant sustainability and modernization project.

“I am honored to join U.S. Equities and the Willis Tower team during this momentous time in its history,” Michon says. “U.S. Equities has an exceptional track record and passion for repositioning great Chicago buildings. The firm’s initiatives at Willis Tower are already making a big impact. From the response to the modernization plans to the tremendous leasing successes to the throngs of daily visitors to the Skydeck, the building is thriving with renewed energy.”

The property offers a variety of space and uses, including office, retail, broadcast, parking and Skydeck Chicago business units. Asking lease rates at the building’s office component range from $16 to $21 per square foot net. Built in 1973, the property is owned by 233 S. Wacker LLC, which includes American Landmark Properties, the Chetrit Group and the Moinian Group.

Michon, 52, spent the past eight years with Grubb & Ellis Management Services Inc., where until recently, he worked as VP and regional director of operations. Previous to that, he served as general manager of numerous commercial properties – including CNA Plaza, 222 South Riverside, JP Morgan Plaza, 225 North Michigan Avenue, and 10 South LaSalle Street – for Cushman & Wakefield/Premisys Real Estate for eight years. He received his bachelor of science degree in finance from Northern Illinois University.

“We are excited to have such an experienced and respected property management leader as part of our team,” Katherine Scott, managing director and EVP of U.S. Equities, says. “This is an incredible time for U.S. Equities realizing success from bringing a confident new approach to tenant relations, and community and consumer outreach at Willis Tower. Gary’s experience will be well matched with the scale and scope of the plans underway to make this building as relevant and innovative for future generations as it has been since it was first built in the 1970s. The building anchors our city’s skyline and is being rediscovered as the premier place for business.”

The property is located in Chicago’s West Loop submarket, where average asking lease rates are around $35 per square foot gross, according to CB Richard Ellis’s mid-year CBD office market report. Overall occupancy in the West Loop is near 86%, CBRE’s research says.

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