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2020 Q3 Chicago Downtown Office Report

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Tenants' Advantage in Pandemic Induced Downturn

As rents are down, and availability is up; negotiating environment has flipped to tenants in the Chicago CBD office market.

Chicago’s CBD vacancy rate decreased 10 basis points to 13.8% from 13.9% quarter over quarter. After a drastic increase of 100 basis points from the first to second quarter of 2020, the third quarter’s vacancy decrease is a plateau of the market and not an indicator of improvement in the cycle yet. Much of the positive activity that kept the vacancy stable this quarter was due in part to several major tenants who signed prior to pandemic conditions, are now occupying their spaces.

Although vacancy is 13.8% currently, 19.3% of the CBD is being marketed as available space (compared to 2.8 million available in 3Q19). As pandemic conditions lessen and tenants make major physical moves out of space, much of this available space being marketed will be listed as vacant in the coming months.

Office Report Chicago Downtown

2020 Q3 Chicago Downtown Office Report

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Sandy McDonald

Senior Director of Research

Chicago - Downtown

I am the senior director of research at Colliers | Chicago and lead the Office Advisory Group’s market research initiative. I am responsible for building and maintaining competitive market intelligence which includes the office properties database of property sales and leases, tenant information and comparable transactions.

I also manage daily operations including the collection and analysis of market and economic-related statistics, providing clients with customized reports and in-depth interpretation of underlying trends in the market. In addition, I compile proprietary quarterly office market statistics and reports for business development and client support purposes. I am considered an expert in the field and am frequently featured in industry newspapers and publications. 

I have 13 years’ experience in commercial real estate research. Prior to joining Colliers, I served as director of market research at Transwestern. Prior to Transwestern, I spent three years at DTZ (now Cushman & Wakefield) as the senior research analyst for Chicago. Prior to joining DTZ, I spent four years with Grubb & Ellis (now Newmark Knight Frank) in Chicago as an office research analyst and support for the industrial services team.

In addition to commercial real estate experience, I've had extensive experience in the mortgage industry as a mortgage sales executive with Option One Mortgage. I not only researched, marketed, brokered and sold mortgage products to clients but also managed a team of account managers, handling account issues and client resolutions. I also developed training, introduced new products to clients and streamlined procedures in company offices.

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