How Much Does Chicago Office Space Cost?

Understand the real price of office space and where your money goes when you lease.

How much does Chicago office space cost? - Downtown Chicago Buildings

Office space costs are one of the biggest expenses for a business, and because of the high demand, rents have been growing quickly. Before you look for a space, it’s a good idea to know what comprises your total outlay.

Every office space is different, and each will have its own costs associated with it. Here are the  general categories that comprise it:

  • Base Rent – What the landlord is charging for the space
  • Operating Expenses – Your portion of building costs
  • Taxes – Your portion of the property taxes
  • Utilities – Costs for water, electricity, cleaning, etc.
  • Business Costs – Expenses to your business outside of your lease
  • Capital Expenses – Includes furniture and moving expenses; if you are changing the space, there could be architectural, engineering and construction costs

Pricing can range from neighborhood to neighborhood and building to building, so you should work closely with a tenant representative (rep) broker. For example, they can help you understand the components of your base rent, such as the load factor, which is your share of the common area costs.

Understand the Types of Leases in Chicago

They generally fall into two categories: gross leases and net leases. Within these two categories, there are several variations – here are examples of some common leases:

  • Full Service Gross Leases typically include base rent, taxes, operating expenses. The owner is responsible for maintaining the entire building, paying taxes, negotiating vendor contracts, and covering all the expenses.
  • Modified Gross Leases typically include base rent, taxes, operating expenses and may include some portion of utilities.
  • Triple Net (NNN) leases include your rent only, however, you are responsible for all the other expenses such as property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and utilities.

Chicago Office Space Pricing

Office space pricing in Chicago varies by neighborhood and building. Here are the Chicago neighborhoods that are the most popular for office space as measured by market-leading rents on Truss:

Chicago Top Office Space Pricing by Neighborhood

Chicago Neighborhood Average price/sq. ft. (Annual)

West Loop - Fulton Market: $43

Downtown - The Loop: $42

River North: $38

Hyde Park: $35

Goose Island - New City: $33

North Side Neighborhoods: $29

Lake Forest - Lake Bluff: $28

South Loop - Chinatown: $26

Evanston - North Shore: $26

Oak Brook - East I-88 Corridor: $25

Market Drivers

Coworking providers and technology companies are driving absorption in several neighborhoods. The southwest Loop has become an attractive area for some businesses, and Fulton Market continues to be the scene of office development and high absorption. Several older office buildings have been renovated and converted to coworking spaces.

Estimating Square Footage

The amount of square footage you will need to accommodate your operations and how your team is subjective, but there are industry averages to help guide your decision making.

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