CHICAGO—The independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago has just signed an extension on its existing 88,000-square-feet at 55 E. Monroe in the East Loop. In addition, the firm has also agreed to a 30,000-square-foot expansion and brought its total footprint in the office tower up to 118,000-square-feet. Although several high profile tenants have recently left the surrounding neighborhood, leasing at this tower remains robust, and the owners’ strategy could show other landlords a way to bolster the submarket’s long-term health.

GlenStar Properties LLC and its partner Walton Street Capital began redeveloping 55 E. Monroe in 2005. The partners did not believe the East Loop was living up to its potential as either a residential neighborhood or an office submarket. They began upgrading the offices and converted the top nine floors of the 1.6-million-square-foot property into luxury condominiums. As reported in, GlenStar completed the conversions in 2013 and sold the last of the 215 condominiums by late spring.

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