This article originally appeared in Commercial Property Executive on March 13, 2019.
United Airlines Renews Lease at Chicago’s Willis Tower
The new agreement extends the carrier’s existing lease until 2033. United will invest millions to upgrade its 850,000-square-foot headquarters at the famed property.
United Airlines has announced it will keep its headquarters at Chicago’s famed Willis Tower, renewing its lease until 2033. The airline will also invest millions to upgrade its office space, at the same time owner Blackstone is nearing the end of a $500 million renovation.
United, whose lease would have expired in 2028, will eventually add a 30,000-square-foot cafeteria and roof deck to its footprint at the tower, which totals 850,000 square feet spread across 16 floors, according to the Chicago Tribune. United first move to Willis Tower over a three-year period that ended in 2013. Office upgrades will take place over the coming months and years and will allow for more collaboration between employees as well as updated technology, according to a press release announcing the lease renewal.
Willis Tower, also known as the Sears Tower, is a 110-story skyscraper located at 233 S Wacker Drive in the heart of downtown Chicago. Blackstone paid $1.3 billion for the building in 2015 and announced a $500 million renovation in early 2017. The tower recently expanded its retail offerings with 300,000 square feet of new shopping, dining and entertainment space, as well as 125,000 square feet of tenant amenities.
“We are thrilled that United Airlines will continue to call Willis Tower home,” said David Moore, senior vice president and portfolio director at EQ Office, in prepared remarks. “We are dramatically enhancing the building and creating the new standard for an urban workplace, with all our focus on improving the daily work and lives of our tenants.”
Image via EQ Office/Blackstone, courtesy of Gensler