Company News
Mergers and Acquisitions Firm Triples Chicago Space in Rare Office Expansion

By: Ryan Ori

A mergers and acquisitions firm plans to at least triple its office space in Chicago in a relocation that bucks the national trend of shrinking corporate footprints.

Blue Ops has leased 27,762 square feet in the 22-story tower at 200 S. Michigan Ave., the tenant and building owner Stanton Road Capital said in a statement.

That is a big jump from the approximately 9,000 square feet the firm, a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Xerxes Global, now leases in the tower at 20 S. Clark St. The lease is for the full 19th floor and part of the 18th. The deal also includes expansion rights for the remainder of the 18th floor and beyond as the company plans a hiring wave, Xerxes Chief Innovation and Administration Officer Emily Callahan said in an email to CoStar News.

Blue Ops’ deal, with an expected third-quarter move, comes a few years into a broader space-slashing movement throughout the country amid corporate job cuts and persisting remote and hybrid work trends.

But as Blue Ops demonstrates, some companies are showing a renewed appetite for office space to expand their business or return to more in-person work.

In two other recent examples of Chicago expansions, education-technology company RedShelf is boosting its space in a sublease and relocation deal as it increases in-office
time for employees and looks to hire new workers, while law firm Norton Rose Fulbright is growing within its existing Fulton Market building as it adds lawyers.

Blue Ops said it plans to add 15 to 20 jobs in the Chicago office by the end of this year.

“The Chicago office is growing because we have a heavy client base in Chicago and can also hire great talent,” Callahan said in the email.

Blue Ops now has 47 workers in Chicago, and the new space will accommodate more than 90, she said. The new space also will have a training facility with room for as many as 35 people at a time, Callahan said.

Adding a tenant, particularly with one with potential for further growth, is a big step forward for El Segundo, California-based Stanton Road.

The firm said the 371,566-square-foot building, which it bought the leasehold interest in the building for just over $33 million in July 2019, is still 40% vacant.

Built in 1958, the tower is across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park.

For the Record

The tenant was represented by Winthrop Commercial broker Brian Nelson. The landlord was represented by JLL brokers Craig Coupe and Ellen Trager.

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