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New HQ for Hillshire Brands

The challenge

In 2011 Sara Lee's restructuring led to the creation of Hillshire Brands. The company wanted a new headquarters environment that would foster creativity and highlight the new brand.

Colliers was given the challenge of locating a new headquarters that would meet Hillshire Brands' unique business and cultural needs—and do so in the client's 12-month relocation timeline. In addition, Hillshire Brands needed to dispose of excess space included in their existing lease.

Hillshire envisioned a state-of-the-art, low-rise building with an industrial feel, that still provided green space in an urban environment. Good transportation options and access to downtown amenities were also high priorities.

The strategy

Colliers developed a strategic plan and analyzed stay-vs.-move scenarios. In its previous work for Sara Lee, the Colliers team had secured early termination rights. In preparation, the Colliers team began identifying  backfill tenants for the existing property.

The results

In just 45 days, Colliers simultaneously negotiated early termination of the existing lease, and negotiated two backfill leases, saving Sara Lee significant termination fees. Colliers located an off-market redevelopment opportunity in downtown Chicago's West Loop. Using photos from the original 1946 build, the team worked with developer Sterling Bay on design ideas for the property, and eventually transformed a 60-year-old Class C Art Moderne building into an contemporary brick-and-glass structure. The redevelopment preserves the much of the original architectural detail, while providing Hillshire with the modern amenities it needed. 

Colliers also facilitated the procurement of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) incentives valued at $5.5 million from the City of Chicago—the first major deal of its kind under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration. The city of Chicago will benefit from 600 new jobs and the revitalization of an underutilized corner.

Press Coverage


NAIOP Chicago: Office Deal of the Year

NAIOP Chicago: Office Redevelopment of the Year

Real Estate Forum: Innovative Deal of the Year

Greater Chicago Food Depos.: Innovative Deal of the Year

Greater Chicago Food Depos.: Redevelopment of the Year

United States