WFH, Productivity, and Evolving Preferences
With worker productivity weakening, business leaders are calling for employees to return to in-person work. The WSJ recently reported recently reported that many employers are recognizing these challenges and requiring in-person work: “Some 72.5% of business establishments said their employees teleworked rarely or not at all last year, according to a Labor Department report. That figure climbed from 60.1% in 2021. The survey showed about 21 million more workers on-site full time in 2022, compared with the prior year.”
Employees, too, are acknowledging the importance of interpersonal connections at work. According to Fast Company, that’s especially true within the Gen Z workforce: “People have claimed that Gen Z workers are ‘quiet quitting’… No, a lack of work ethic isn’t to blame—but a lack of interpersonal connection and belonging in the workplace may very well be.”
Many companies are reducing their office footprints, but there are plenty of promising signs for the long-term stability of Chicago’s CBD:
- Increased Foot Traffic
For the first time since the pandemic, more than half of Chicago’s workforce has returned to the office. Chicago has now surpassed other major markets including New York and Los Angeles as employers reestablish pre-pandemic workplace policies and emphasize the need for collaborative office space.Source: Crain’s Chicago Business
- Public Transit Use
CTA ridership increased by nearly 25% through 2022, and Metra ridership jumped by 42% in the same timeframe. Even though public transit usage remains below pre-pandemic levels, the consistent increase in commuters coupled with higher levels of foot-traffic are positives for the Loop’s economy.Source: CBS Chicago
- Federal Legislation
Federal workers returning to the office could be the first step to bringing government employees of all levels back for in-person work, which could help restore life to Chicago’s struggling Central Loop. More than 80% of government office space in Chicago is located in this submarket.Source: CoStar
- Google’s Commitment to Chicago
Even though Google is reducing their overall office footprint nationally, they are expanding their presence in Chicago by purchasing the 1-million square foot Thompson Center in the Central Loop. Chicago remains a top location for growth in the eyes of Google, citing untapped tech talent and the extensive public transit system as two main drivers of their decision.Source: CoStar
As expert tenant representatives, we focus our strategy on the business objectives of our clients. Each service we provide is measured by how well it achieves or enhances client goals. Bradford Allen clients gain the knowledge necessary to quantify their real estate requirements, determine the positives and negatives of available options, and analyze the financial implications involved. To achieve impactful results for your business, consider contacting our experienced brokers today.
PRINCIPAL & PRESIDENT, CHICAGO REGION
BEN AZULAYSince joining Bradford Allen as an associate in 2004, Ben has made significant contributions to the firm. In 2015, Ben became a Principal due to his hard work, dedication, and vested interest in the direction of the company. While he specializes in representing office tenants in Chicagoland and nationwide, Ben has also had great success representing landlords in a variety of real estate transactions. His expertise in assisting commercial office clients with operational, qualitative, and financial structuring allows Ben to easily identify problem areas and craft smart, client-specific real estate solutions. Ben handles various projects across the real estate spectrum, enabling him to cultivate a multi-faceted knowledge of the industry. A few of his successful transactions include assisting GrubHub in completing a substantial expansion, in which they nearly doubled the size of their office space; securing over forty office spaces across the country for MedSpeed; and representing Foley and Mansfield, a national law firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while he assisted in the expansion and renewal of their existing office space in Chicago. Ben works with clients across industries including, but not limited to, marketing and advertising, law, healthcare, and technology. As a member of the leadership team, Ben also plays an integral role in the strategic direction of Bradford Allen. He is a regular contributor to the firm’s research and recruiting efforts, and he assumes an influential role in mentoring new brokers along with overseeing his own team. Ben lives in Lincoln Park with his wife and four children where he enjoys staying active by biking and running. He’s an active supporter of Ramah Wisconsin and American Friends of the Hebrew University (AFHU) and is an avid fan of the Chicago Bears.
As the Managing Director of the tenant representation practice at Bradford Allen, Justin is dedicated to helping businesses achieve their real estate goals. His main focus is on building long-lasting advisory relationships. With a deep understanding of Chicago’s office market, he takes a step-by-step approach to make sure his clients have all the information they need to make informed decisions.
Since coming on board with Bradford Allen in 2011, Justin has worked with a variety of organizations across many industries. Some of his standout achievements include assisting a law firm with a challenging sublease and relocation in the post-pandemic era, guiding a 40-member real estate consultancy to a new office, and securing a spacious new headquarters for a rapidly expanding logistics company.
By applying his diverse business experience, Justin helps clients quickly identify potential issues and formulate effective strategies. He is committed to finding solutions for complex real estate deals through his creativity, cost-saving strategic planning, and his ability to anticipate a client’s operational needs.
Originally from just outside St. Louis, Justin now calls Chicago’s Uptown his home. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling with his family, biking along Chicago’s scenic lakefront, and spending quality time with his two lively daughters.
Licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Illinois
NATHAN J. MEISNER
Nathan joined Bradford Allen in 2019, primarily focusing on helping companies find office space to fit their needs by assisting in all facets of the leasing process. His responsibilities include finding office requirements and negotiating new leases, renewals, and extensions. Nathan also maintains current market knowledge and relationships with owners, which helps him create the best options for his clients.
Prior to Bradford Allen, Nathan began his commercial real estate career with summer internships at Cushman & Wakefield and Zeller Realty Group. A graduate of Ohio University in real estate and financial management, Nathan became an office tenant rep broker at Monarch Realty, before joining Miller Chicago Real Estate.
A Cincinnati native, Nathan is the middle child of six siblings and a longtime fan of all Cincinnati sports – Bengals, Reds, and FC Cincinnati. He now lives in Wicker Park and spends his free time watching or playing sports, fishing, camping, hiking, and finding new spots to dine and drink in the city.
Lauryn joined Bradford Allen in 2023 as an associate in the Chicago office. She focuses on all aspects of the leasing process with the goal of finding the ideal office space to fit her client’s specific needs. Lauryn’s main responsibilities include market reconnaissance, business development, tenant outreach, and building and maintaining relationships with clients.
Previously, Lauryn spent two years at Cushman & Wakefield where she performed lease renewals, market analysis, and negotiations. She also specialized ADA requirements and bringing spaces to compliance. Lauryn graduated from University of Missouri’s Trulaske College of Business, majoring in finance with an emphasis in real estate.
Lauryn enjoys staying active, spending time outdoors, and being with friends and family. She has recently developed a knack for cooking as well. Being from St. Louis, Lauryn is a Cardinals fan and, since the Rams left, a KC Chiefs fan.