Onni extends lease period at renovated Chicago tower

Onni Group’s decision to pour millions into renovating its office tower continues to pay off as it has just acquired another tenant to extend a hot streak.

Staffing and consulting firm Addison Group has signed a 12-year, 35,000-square-foot lease at 225 West Randolph Street, with plans to relocate from 125 South Wacker Drive next summer when the 32,000-square-foot lease squares expire there, Crain’s reported.

Canadian developer Onni Group is reaping the benefits of its $140 million overhaul of the 853,000-square-foot building, dubbed the Bell. The firm was on the verge of closing on a trio of leases, combined for nearly 140,000 square feet, in March. More recently, Onni secured a 30,000-square-foot lease from quantitative trading firm Aquatic Capital Management.

The leasing streak further demonstrates office users’ desire for updated, amenity-filled office space in light of the remote work era, which has contributed to record office vacancies in 12 of the past 14 quarters. Chicago’s vacancy rate topped 25 percent for the first time last quarter, according to CBRE.

Onni’s renovation of the 31-story building includes transforming the top three floors into amenity space with an indoor-outdoor roof terrace. The project is expected to be completed early next year.

The building is next to the James R. Thompson Center, which is being redeveloped into Google’s Chicago offices.

Bell’s leasing wins can be attributed in part to its Class L designation in Cook County, reducing property taxes for 12 years for developers who undertake major renovations of historic buildings. This incentive allows landlords to offer competitive rental rates, giving them an edge in the market.

Addison Group’s departure, meanwhile, will pose challenges for Ivanhoe Cambridge, owner of the 31-story Wacker Drive building since it bought it for $145 million in 2017. The property is 77 percent leased, the outlet reported.

—Quinn Donoghue

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