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Chicago & Midwest  + Downtown  + Office  | 
The Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation’s Second Annual Real Bright Summit runs from Jan. 31 - Feb. 4.

Q1 Office Leasing Volume Up from Prior Quarter, Down Sharply from a Year Ago

First-quarter office leasing activity in downtown Chicago increased 63.9% from Q4 2020 but remained down by 73.5% from a year ago, before the pandemic impact had hit the market, Savills’ Anders Klein reported. “Fundamentals remain wholly altered from a year ago as the sublease market further swelled, and availability reached new highs,” Klein wrote.

Chicago’s rise in availability exhibited no signs of a slowdown, increasing 150 basis points this quarter to 21.6%. Almost 1.0 million square feet of space became available during Q1 in the Central Loop, where availability increased to 24.2%.

Despite the pandemic’s jarring impact on occupancy and availability, Downtown Chicago landlords have largely held the line on asking rents. That being the case, wrote Klein, “Many landlords have shown inclination for heavily discounted rents, increased concessions, and significant flexibility for occupiers who are active and ready to make leasing decisions.”

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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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