Feeding America moving expanding downtown HQ

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This article was originally published in Crain's Chicago Business.

One of the country's largest charities is expanding its downtown headquarters and moving it a few blocks away.

Nationwide food bank network Feeding America has leased more than 61,000 square feet at 161 N. Clark St., according to the brokers who represented the nonprofit.

Feeding America will move its home office to the 50-story building later this year from its 46,000-square-foot headquarters at 35 E. Wacker Drive.

It's unclear whether any future hiring is planned in connection with the growing space, and a spokesman for the organization couldn't be reached. But the nation's largest hunger-relief organization has grown its team in recent years and "had to rethink the way they were using office space," Mindy Saffer, a tenant rep at real estate brokerage Cresa, said in a statement announcing the lease.

"The space provides employees a more collaborative and efficient work environment while the building provides ample room for Feeding America to host meetings," the statement said. "It was extremely important to Feeding America’s executive team to keep real estate costs as low as possible while creating space that improves operations for its staff."

The deal piles onto a downtown office market that has been on a roll recently, with companies in many industries hiring and grabbing more office space to make room for their growth. But it's unclear whether that run will come to a sudden end as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on businesses and the global economy.

The Feeding America lease is a much-needed victory for 161 N. Clark owner CBRE Global Investors, which was dealt a big leasing blow last summer when consulting firm Accenture announced it would move out of the 1.1 million-square-foot building, part of a consolidation of its local offices to 500 W. Madison St.

Accenture is the Clark building's largest tenant, with about 145,000 square feet.

Including Feeding America, the 556,000-square-foot building at 35 E. Wacker—better known as the Jewelers Building—is 93 percent leased, according to real estate information company CoStar Group. Real estate developer Clayco is the largest tenant in the historic 40-story riverfront building, which is owned by Dorchester, a Canadian real estate firm.

Saffer of Cresa and Jones Lang LaSalle tenant rep Rob Schmidt represented Feeding America in the lease.