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.
Since joining Bradford Allen in November of 2011, Justin has been dedicated to addressing the specific needs of his clients. As a managing director with the firm, he specializes in representing office tenants and helping businesses to realize their qualitative, operational, and financial real estate goals. Justin’s advisory approach ensures his clients are aware of the multitude of opportunities available to them in the downtown Chicago office market.
Justin has represented organizations across various industries, each with a different level of real estate experience. This diversity has enabled him to formulate a well-rounded understanding of Chicago’s dynamic commercial market. A few of his most-successful transactions include: assisting local micro-brewery, Baderbrau, in locating a building for their new brewery and tap room; locating a single-floor office large enough to relocate Walton Isaacson’s growing Chicago office in the vacancy-challenged River North submarket; and subleasing the existing office for the e-Discovery company, Mindcrest, while simultaneously relocating them to a new space triple the size of the previous office.
By applying his diverse domestic and international business experience, Justin is able to help clients quickly identify potential issues and formulate effective strategies. He is committed to developing solutions for complex real estate requirements through his creativity, cost-saving strategic planning, and his ability to anticipate a client’s operational needs.
Hailing from just outside St. Louis, Justin is an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan (and doesn’t hold it against his wife that she roots for the Cubs). Justin loves traveling, exploring new cities, and staying active with CrossFit, soccer, and biking.
Licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Illinois
Small Business Advisory Council
Member Engagement Committee, Union League Club of Chicago
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.