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CHICAGO-William Blair & Co. has signed a lease extension for the 324,700 square foot the company occupies here at the Franklin Center. The lease extension will give the global investment firm space till 2017. The firm currently leases 350,000 square feet at the property.

“At a time when the competition for blue-chip tenants has never been more intense, we are pleased to retain William Blair & Company at Franklin Center well into the next decade,” says Casey Wold, Tishman Speyer senior manageing director. “Our ongoing aim is to maintain and operate Franklin Center as a signature property, and we believe this transaction reflects our success in meeting that objective.”

William Blair & Co. has been on the market for a new headquarters facility since March. According to earlier reports the company was originally planned to anchor a new downtown office to be developed by Hines at 444 W. Lake St. along the Chicago River, but the project fell through.

Tishman Speyer manages the property on behalf of a join venture, which includes Australia-based Tishman Speyer Office Fund. The deal, according to Tishman Speyer executives, is believed to be the largest lease transaction signed this year downtown.

Franklin Center is a West Loop complex that is composed of two connected buildings. The properties, 22 W. Adams St. and 227 W. Monroe St., total 2.5 million square feet of class A office space.

William Blair & Co. was represented by Jones Lang LaSalle’s Steve Stratton, Robert Schmidt, Pamela Stamataky, Jack Keenan and Michael Tirpak. Tishman Speyer was represented by Vickie Noonan, Joe Gordon and Ellen May.

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