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C&W Represents Willis Group Holdings in Move to Sears Tower; Building to be Renamed Willis Tower
12 Mar, 2009, Chicago, IL
Cushman & Wakefield, the world’s largest privately held commercial real estate services firm, today announced that it represented Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker, in its lease of more than 140,000 square feet at Chicago’s Sears Tower in an agreement with the building’s owners that will also rename the Chicago icon and tallest building in the Western Hemisphere as Willis Tower.
Willis plans to consolidate five area offices and move nearly 500 Associates into Willis Tower, initially occupying more than 140,000 square feet on multiple floors.
Cushman & Wakefield brokerage professionals Josh Kuriloff, Vice Chairman, and Kent Ilhardt, Executive Vice President, represented Willis in its site search and lease negotiations. Michael Kazmierczak, Senior Vice President, U.S. Equities, represented the ownership.
“We are pleased to have helped arrange one of the most significant agreements in the history of Chicago real estate, to the satisfaction and benefit of all parties involved,” said Mr. Kuriloff.
Mr. Ilhardt said, "Cushman & Wakefield has had a long history with Sears Tower having acted as project manager for its development and original leasing and management agent. While the building is older, its infrastructure meets or exceeds new construction in many categories. In addition, the highly efficient floor plates, excellent location and numerous amenities will all contribute to Willis' productivity at Willis Tower."
Relocating to Willis Tower will be three current Willis HRH offices in Chicago, located at 10 South LaSalle Street, One East Wacker Drive and 222 North Riverside Plaza, along with two suburban locations – in Oak Brook and Lombard. The move is expected to be completed by late summer.
The majority of Willis HRH Associates moving to Willis Tower work in the company’s retail brokerage business, which is supported by Willis’ key specialist capabilities in such areas as construction, executive risk, healthcare, property, real estate and employee benefits.
Willis Tower also will be home to Willis Commercial, a business unit dedicated to serving the insurance needs of small and medium-sized enterprises. Willis Commercial utilizes the technology platform and capabilities of the company’s Chicago-based InsuranceNoodle™ unit, a web-enabled wholesaler of commercial property and casualty products that Willis acquired in 2007. In addition, Willis’ Innotech business, a high-tech service center for healthcare benefits clients, will be housed in the Willis Tower offices.
The building, which first opened in 1973, is recognized worldwide as a center for business, and an architectural signature of Chicago’s skyline. It is owned by 233 S. Wacker Drive LLC, a real estate investment group formed in 2004 to purchase the tower. Ownership includes New York City-based partners Joseph Chetrit; and Joseph Moinian and Steve Bederman of The Moinian Group; and Yisroel Gluck and John Huston, of American Landmark Properties, Ltd., based in Skokie, Illinois. U.S. Equities Asset Management LLC, headquartered in Chicago, provides management and leasing services to the property.
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