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Mayer Brown Moving Global Operations Center To Sterling Bay Renovation

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311 west monroe
311 West Monroe

Several of Chicago’s global law firms recently decided to move their offices to the expensive new trophy towers that sprang up in the West Loop, but older, repositioned properties are also turning out to have appeal.

Mayer Brown LLP signed a long-term lease for 56K SF at Sterling Bay’s 311 West Monroe, a recently renovated building just east of Wacker Drive that was almost empty when the developer bought it for $61M in 2017.

The firm keeps its main office at 71 South Wacker Drive, but after nearly 15 years in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago building at 230 South LaSalle St., will relocate its US/Global Operations Center to two floors at 311 West Monroe, according to Britt Miller, the managing partner of Mayer Brown’s Chicago office and a co-leader of its antitrust practice.

Mayer Brown, one of Chicago’s largest law firms, was able to work closely with Sterling Bay as the space took shape, and getting involved early in the renovation helped ensure it would be both appealing and efficient, she said.

“When we first saw the space, it had been not quite stripped to the studs, but close.”

The new office, which houses staff that handles information technology, human resources, payroll and other functions, has more glass and light-filled spaces than the LaSalle location, and also includes stand-up desks.

“It allows them to be literally side-by-side with their colleagues and work more collaboratively,” Miller said.

Although Mayer Brown did look at other potential locations across much of downtown, choosing 311 West Monroe meant the operations center would be even closer to the main office, which weighed heavily in the final decision.

“We have a lot of folks that go back and forth between the two buildings during the day,” she said.

Including the Mayer Brown deal, Sterling Bay has over the last four months leased six full floors totaling 177K SF at 311 West Monroe.

Like many downtown developers that take over older structures, the company added a set of new amenities that allows the property to compete with Class-A towers. The 15-story building now offers an indoor/outdoor tenant lounge, private tenant bowling alley and gaming area, a modern fitness center and locker rooms, updated conference and event facilities, a secure bike room and private executive parking.      

“They were certainly an incentive, and part of what made the space attractive,” Miller said.

CBRE’s Todd Lippman, James Whalen and Maura Flanagan represented Mayer Brown.