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Downtown Chicago sees an 8% increase in empty offices in last quarter

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 According to a recent report by CBRE the amount of empty offices in downtown Chicago took an 8% jump in the first quarter of 2009. The year end 2008 empty office rate for office space in downtown Chicago stood at 12.3%. The 8% jump brings the current office vacancy to 13.3%. They also noted that there was a 40% increase in sublease office space to a total of 3.8 million square feet. Much of the sublease space came from "financial companies, including the collapsed Bear Stearns Cos. and Washington Mutual Inc. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. also resorted to subleases."

As we see unemployment increase we will also see a corresponding increase in the vacancy rate in not only Chicago, but all major markets. The higher the unemployment, the greater the increase in the office vacancy rate in that office space market. This in turn will help turn the office rental rates lower providing better deals for those tenants who are looking for space.

Taking advantage of these opportunities can be tricky, especially if you are considering sublease space.  There are risks involved and it is important that you get professional advice.  A great source is to use a tenant representative; a licensed real estate professional who specializes in office space leasing and sales. They have a fiduciary responsibility to look after your best interest. Avoid using listing agents.  No matter what they tell you, they represent the landlord.  Typically a tenant rep will not cost you anything since they share in commissions offered by the landlord. It is a win-win for you.  Make sure and level the playing field and have an advocate who know the tricks of the trade. They will make sure you not only get great space at the best price, but also avoid potentially business crippling mistakes.

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Chicago Office Space , Lease Negotiations , Office Relocation , Office Space , Tenant Representation

Office Relocation Guide - Part 1

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Every year, thousands of businesses across the country relocate their offices to new space. Many have grown too large for their current space, while some companies are down-sizing to smaller, more cost efficient offices. Still other businesses may be relocating to a new geographic area offering lower operations costs. Whatever your particular reason for making a change, moving a company requires a lot of thorough planning, open communication, and hard work. It is much more than just hiring a moving company. There are literally hundreds of tasks that need to be completed to accomplish a smooth move.

One of the very few events that may be more stressful than a residential move is a corporate relocation! Most people are totally unfamiliar with how to prepare for a corporate move and the process can be quite overwhelming to the inexperienced. Without proper planning, you may find yourself with a digital copier too large for its designated space, a phone system without enough telephone lines, or movers being paid to stand around and wait while employees pack up their belongings.

This Guide is designed to inform you of some of the most important issues related to an office relocation, and to help you avoid costly mistakes during the process.

Start with a Comprehensive Moving Plan

The key to assuring success with any office relocation is planning everything down to the smallest detail. As part of the process of planning an office move you should first determine who will be on the relocation team and what you can handle in house and what might you need or want to outsource.

If you are considering hiring a relocation consultant to manage the move process only, you may be wasting your money. Most reputable office moving companies will assign you a project manager to assist you with the process from beginning to end. However if you need a consultant to help with space planning, furniture purchases, implementing new technology, etc., then a relocation consultant could be a valuable resource.

Factors to Consider When Planning a Relocation

Technology Systems Planning - What is the current status of your high tech equipment? Since most companies renew their technology every 18 to 36 months, is this an opportunity to upgrade or expand your systems?

Asset Management Planning - Audit your existing assets. What’s worth moving in the area of technology and furnishings? What should be replaced or upgraded? Can you install what you’re moving in the new facility or are there obsolescence and incompatibility issues?

Space and Interior Design Planning - Whether you elect to handle the space planning or to use a consultant, building floor plans drawn to scale are very important. Drawings that are reasonable facsimile representations of your space can be very misleading and create substantial problems on moving day. Once you have the ‘big picture’ settled you can focus on special details for decorations, artwork, enhanced lighting and plants.

Space Requirements Analysis - For space planning purposes compile a roster of personnel and their anticipated space needs as well as a detailed inventory list of the minimal space requirements for all machinery and office equipment. Once you have your roster and equipment list compiled, you can easily determine your total minimum space requirements.

Business Requirements Analysis - Employees should be consulted for specific preferences and requirements. Once all the information has been compiled, you will be prepared to complete a ‘needs analysis’ of business requirements and preferences. Develop a ‘must-have’ priority list from your requirements list to help you identify which areas of your business need the most attention. Also develop a timeline for your requirements list that includes the start date and the projected completion date for each item.

In the next part of our series ‘Guide to Office Relocation’ - Part 2 we will go over some things that you will need to consider in the organization and planning stages of your Office Relocation project.

General , Office Relocation , Office Space

The “Scary Times” Office Space Tenant Guide

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We queried our network of over 700 local member agents who specialize in office properties to come up with a list of suggestions that may be useful to office tenants. We only chose the most frequent comments and those that we thought would be most useful.

While it might sound a bit self serving, the one suggestion that came forward most frequently was work with an office tenant representative with whom you can consult on action available to your specific situation. It usually won’t cost you anything to have them take a look at your situation to determine what course of action would be best for you to take. In other words, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

It may be helpful to consider all of your options. We'll show you what they are. There are quite a few depending on your needs, budget and wants.

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General , Office Space