Chicago's Landmark Merchandise Mart Gets New Life as Tech Hub
Erin Chan Ding, of The New York Times, reports on the Merchandise Mart's amazing transformation - from despression-era monument of "fabric bolts and furniture," to high-tech hub. Proximity to rail transit, an abundance of parking, bike locker storage, and, most importantly, the 'energy' of the River North neighborhood, where some 7,500 tech jobs are already located, are among the factors driving the building's transformation.
Motorola Mobility is one such tech firm relocating to the Mart. "It is the third major technology company to sign a lease with the mart since December," says Ding. "With the Motorola Mobility lease - 632,000 square feet in all - the tech sector will occupy about half of the building's office space...When Motorola Mobility moves in, the building will be 95 percent occupied, up from 85 percent, the lowest occupancy rate in a decade. About 55 percent of the building will still be dedicated to showrooms."