Real estate technology firm Lessen has announced its relocation to a towering office space at 203 N. LaSalle St., right across from the soon-to-be-renovated James R. Thompson Center, where Google’s massive overhaul has just begun. This move marks an early indication that the tech giant’s arrival could catalyze further growth and redevelopment in the area.

Jay McKee, founder and CEO of Lessen, highlighted the decision to lease approximately 77,000 square feet in the 27-story tower, emphasizing the upgraded amenities and the modernized, Class-A office property as critical factors. “With this relocation, we’ll be elevating the work experience for our Chicago employees,” McKee stated. The choice to be near Google’s future site was driven by the desire to position Lessen within Chicago’s emerging premier tech corridor, hinting at the expected synergistic benefits of close proximity to other tech leaders.

The deal is a significant win for the central Loop, which has seen notable departures such as Bank of America and BMO Financial relocating to newer developments along the Chicago River and in Fulton Market. However, the commitments from giants like Google and JPMorgan Chase, who decided to renovate and remain in its 60-story skyscraper rather than relocate, are signs of a strong rebound. These moves are part of broader efforts to inject new life into this historic part of Chicago.

Google’s renovation, in particular, is more than just an upgrade; it’s a signal to the world that Chicago remains a burgeoning hub for technology and innovation. The project, which includes turning the building into a LEED Platinum, an all-electric facility, aims to enhance the area’s community feel while catering to a growing tech workforce. Karen Sauder, Google Chicago Site Lead, highlighted the goal of creating a “thriving community destination for all Chicagoans” in what will be a revitalized Loop neighborhood.

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Image credit: Google

“When it opened, the Thompson Center was intended to be a new kind of gathering space for Chicagoans. After all, it’s the only building in the city where six L train lines converge—connecting Chicago’s South, West, and North sides,” Ms. Sauder wrote in a press release in December. “With a new and improved CTA experience, the Thompson Center will continue to serve commuters and will be perfectly positioned to welcome current and future employees from every corner of Chicago. And our hope is that this reimagined building becomes something more: a thriving community destination for all Chicagoans in a revitalized Loop neighborhood.”

Chicago officials are optimistic that the twin engines of Google’s and JPMorgan’s investments, along with the planned conversions of office space to apartments, will rejuvenate the Loop, making it a magnet for businesses and residents. Brian Means, a JLL broker representing Lessen, remarked, “Lessen will add to the roster of exciting tenants recently committing to the Central Loop along with leading technology and financial services leaders.”

With these developments, the city is cementing its reputation as a major player in the national tech landscape, promising an exciting future for companies and workers drawn to its dynamic urban core. As these transformations unfold, the Loop is not just witnessing a change in its skyline but is also setting the stage for the next era of innovation and growth in the Windy City.