Posted: September 3, 2018
SMS Assist Focuses on Customer Service with New Office
SMS Assist, one of Chicago’s fastest-growing technology companies, today announced a major expansion with the opening of a second area office in suburban Naperville.
The expansion will allow SMS Assist, headquartered in downtown Chicago, to accelerate investments in its industry-leading workforce and business solutions, which bring efficiency to multisite property management. The company, which plans to build out the new office initially with dozens of customer service riles, has a global workforce of more than 800 employees.
“Our success is driven by our people,” said Taylor Rhodes, SMS Assist’s CEO. “They’re the reason we’re here today. This new office allows us to continue creating opportunities for the team while also strengthening what’s already the best customer service in the industry.”
SMS Assist, recognized for its internal talent development program, chose Naperville for the new office because of the city’s strong business environment and highly skilled workforce. Naperville, with numerous colleges and top-ranked school districts, is regularly rated as one of the most educated, best places to live in the country.
The company has subleased 35,000 square feet in CityGate Centre near Interstate 88 and Route 59. It will open the facility at 2135 CityGate Lane next month with about 30 workers, says CEO Taylor Rhodes (reported by Crain’s).
The new office, which features free covered parking, an on-site gym, building food court and dedicated training space, will allow the company to accommodate up to 400 employees. The hiring process is already underway, with job descriptions available online.
SMS is expanding in the burbs at a time when suburban companies, such as McDonald’s, continue to migrate downtown in search of labor. A handful of companies—such as Motorola Solutions, Walgreens, Fieldglass and startup Catalytic—have locations in both the city and suburbs (reported by Crain's).
“You get a lot of great talent downtown,” Rhodes said. “There are other pools of people who look favorably at not having to get on a train and come downtown. We studied quite a few spaces before choosing this one. The labor, proximity to college-educated folks, the mix of type of talent was right. It also gives us a second site, which helps with disaster-recovery requirements” (reported by Crain's).
SMS Assist enhances how customers experience some of the nation’s biggest brands, streamlining dozens of facilities maintenance services with best-in-class contractors. The company’s technology platform offers real-time quality assurance and transparency across thousands of locations simultaneously.
For two years running, SMS Assist has earned a spot on the Forbes World’s Best 100 Cloud Companies list.
About SMS Assist
SMS Assist is a Chicago-based technology company providing multisite property management to a roster of Fortune 500 clients with a team of more than 800 dedicated employees and more than 186,000 service locations. Using its proprietary software platform to manage its network of more than 20,000 affiliate subcontractors, SMS Assists offers a suite of property management benefits including leveraged pricing of products and services, $50 million insurance policy, real-time services validation, instant invoicing, automatic service audits, and data analysis to ensure quality and cost efficiency. SMS Assist is revolutionizing multisite property management services for clients including JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), O’Reilly Automative, Inc. (NASDAQ: ORLY) and Invitation Homes Inc. (NYSE: INVH). To learn more, visit smsassist.com.
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Posted: August 14, 2018
Plans in place to renovate Butterfield Office Plaza
Clear Height Properties and its JV partner Corcoran Commercial Real Estate, have launched the renovation and repositioning plans for 26Twentyfive, formerly known as Butterfield Office Plaza which was acquired in July.
In conjunction with the launching of that program, the partnership has retained Oakbrook Terrace-based NAI Hiffman to lead the rebrand of the property and manage and lease the building. Executive Vice President Dan O'Neill, Senior Vice President Adam Johnson and Associate Ryan Maher of NAI Hiffman have been retained by the new owner to lead the leasing efforts. In doing so, the NAI team will leverage a modern brand, new name and website while differentiating the project from the many office centers, plazas and parks in the greater Oak Brook area.
2625 Butterfield is a 200,774, square-foot, multi-story office building situated on 10 acres with premier visibility from the I-88 Tollway. The property has office spaces available for lease ranging in sizes from 700 to 9,000 square feet.
"26Twentyfive, is an exciting edeavor for us," said Dominic Sergi, CEO and president of Clear Height Properties. "We are excitied to reposition this asset into a new modern workplace environment that will inspire users of various sizes."
A robust capital and redevelopment plan has been established for the asset in the coming months. Chief among the priorities for the renovated and repositioned 26Twentyfive include further amentizing the asset with the addition of modern conference facilities, fitness center, refreshed entrance, lobby and expanded WiFi lounge.
"The amenity race isn't just for the trophy, class A assets anymore. Businesses looking to attract a multigenerational workforce while providing a premier location for its employees and clients is important more now than ever," Johnson said. "We are excited to work with Clear Height Properties to breathe new life into a well-located office asset, with outstanding, untapped potential."
Press release issued by NAI Hiffman.
Featured in Daily Herald.
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Posted: August 11, 2018
Chicago Regional Growth Corporation
Together with Cook, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties, DuPage County and Choose DuPage have joined in supporting regional economic development through the Chicago Regional Growth Corporation (CRGC). The organization fosters collaboration and cultivates a regional approach to economic development in order to generate inclusive growth and prosperity across northeastern Illinois.
- Provide a platform for collaboration from public and private leaders.
- Prioritize, align and manage the region’s economic development activities to increase competitiveness and improve access for historically disinvested communities.
- Provide a unified voice for northeastern Illinois.
Grow the region’s economy and improve competitiveness by leveraging the assets to engage in international trade that drives increased exports and attracts and nurtures foreign direct investment.
- Grow the pipeline of export-ready firms
- Enhance the export ecosystem
- Reduce costs to access global markets
- Creative a platform to facilitate foreign-direct investment
- Engage, celebrate and support FOEs
- Nurture global leadership in key sectors
- Advance cohesive global identity
Build on the region’s strengths by fostering its globally competitive industries.
- Develop protocol for delivering export and FDI programs to the metals cluster
- Promote the region as a leader for key sectors
- Identify additional priority industries
- Align stakeholder efforts
Improve essential economic systems at a regional level to foster more effective communication and more inclusive and equitable growth.
- Establish region-wide channels of communication
- Host economic development boot camps
- Develop protocol for collaboration on major projects
- Identify key systems for facilitating an inclusive and equitable economy
- Prioritize opportunities and align them with clusters
James M. Roolf, Chair
Joliet Banking Center
Nelda J. Connors, Vice-Chair
Pine Grove Holdings
John A. Carpenter, Secretary
Choose DuPage Economic Development Alliance
Alberto J. Paracchini, Treasurer
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Andrez Beltran, Kendall County
Nim Chinniah, Northwestern University
Kevin Considine, Lake County Partners
Dan Cronin, Chairman, DuPage County
Steven Davis, The Will Group
Jack Franks, Chairman, McHenry County
John Greuling, Will County Center for Eco. Dev.
Scott Gryder, Chairman, Kendall County
Michael Jasso, Cook County Bureau of Eco. Dev.
Chris Lauzen, Chairman, Kane County
Aaron Lawlor, Chairman, Lake County
Michael Moskow, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Aneesa Muthana, Pioneer Service
Toni Preckwinkle, Chairman, Cook County
Robert Rivkin, Deputy Mayor, City of Chicago
Ann Rondeau, College of DuPage
Michael Skala, McHenry County
Joe Slawek, FONA International
Mike VanKerkhoff, Kane County Development
Larry Walsh, Executive, Will County
Andrea Zopp, World Business Chicago
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Posted: August 7, 2018
Aldi expands corporate footprint in Naperville
The discount retailer will continue to operate its headquarters in Batavia and will lease additional space at 1000-1100 East Warrenville Road in Naperville, also known as the Naperville Woods Office Center.
The quickly growing retailer said it will lease about 113,000 square feet of space at the office center, representing 80 percent of the space vacated by Health Care Service Corp.
Aldi said last year it would invest $3.4 billion to expand its U.S. store base from more than 1,700 currently to 2,500 by 2022. The company did not immediately respond Tuesday to requests about the corporate expansion or how many people will work in Naperville.
Health Care Service Corp., a national insurance organization that provides health insurance services for more than 15 million customers, will lease about 32,000 square feet of space at the office center. Though this is an overall reduction in its footprint, Heath Care Corp. maintains its position as Naperville Woods' largest tenant with a total occupancy of about 175,000 square feet.
NAI Hiffman was retained by Agellan Commercial REIT in 2015 to lease and manage the two properties, which have about 490,000 square feet. Since then, the properties were updated with an on-site concierge service, new food service operation, fitness center, tenant lounges, electric vehicle charging station and Zagster bike sharing.
"These two leases are truly the result of what can be achieved when ownership, management and leasing work together toward a common goal. We are extremely proud of the success we achieved as a team in this challenging market," said Pat Kiefer, NAI Higgman executive vice president.
With the addition of these two transactions and lack of tenant expirations in the near future, Naperville Woods Office Center's availability rate is less than 2 percent, making it one of the most stable class A assets on the western end of the east-west corridor area, the company said.
Press release issued by NAI Hiffman.
Featured in Daily Herald.
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Posted: August 3, 2018
Bridge Development Breaks Ground on 678,000 Sq. Ft. Project in Downers Grove
The Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation (DGEDC) recently announced that Bridge Development Partners, LLC, broke ground on Bridge Point Downers Grove. The 678,858 sq. ft. industrial/office development is a joint venture of Bridge Development Partners and Banner Oak Capital Partners. The project, which is on a 54-acre site off Lacey and Finley Roads, north of Warrenville Road, will be completed in early 2019.
"Bridge believes this project will be one of the most unique and notable new development starts in the Chicago industrial market in years," said Steve Groetsema, Principal and Chicago Market Officer, Bridge Development Partners. "This is an irreplaceable large infill tract of land in Chicago's west suburbs positioned to attract tenants from I-55, West Cook County and DuPage County submarkets."
The groundbreaking ceremony, which was hosted by Premier Design + Build Group, LLC, included Mayor Martin Tully, State Representative David Olsen, DGEDC President Michael Cassa, Village Manager Dave Fieldman, and DGEDC Chairman John Luka. The ceremony featured renderings of the three buildings: 3600 Lacey (174,576 sq. ft.), 3700 Lacey (212,937 sq. ft.) and 3800 Finley (291,345 sq. ft.). In total, the three buildings will have 106 docks and 681 parking spaces. Cushman and Wakefield is the leasing broker for the project.
"I am thrilled that Bridge Development Partners has added Bridge Point Downers Grove to its impressive list of projects in the Chicago area" said Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully. "Bridge Point tenants will be able to take advantage of the strategic location that provides visibility from both I-88 and I-355."
The Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation is the official agency for economic development for the Village of Downers Grove. Please visit their website at www.dgedc.com.
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Posted: July 28, 2018
Public-Private Collaboration Expands Commuter Options and Connects Employees, Public to Oak Brook via Elmhurst Metra Station
RTA, the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Oak Brook offer Chariot to serve suburban businesses
The Regional Transportation Authority of Northeastern Illinois (RTA), the Village of Oak Brook, the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce, and Chariot have teamed up to launch a new weekday microtransit shuttle route to connect commuters from the Metra station in Elmhurst to 10 commercial properties along and near Commerce Drive in Oak Brook. Acting in its role as community connector, the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce identified and engaged 10 multi-tenant properties in a densely populated area, allowing local companies and their employees to jointly benefit from the RTA and properties’ investment in the project.
The pilot is a first-of-its-kind public-private engagement with a microtransit company in the RTA region. The project uses Chariot’s service to address the first- and last-mile commuter challenge and leverages the support of local employers who wish to offer more transportation options for their employees. Rides are provided both to and from the 10 properties and the Metra station.
The 14-passenger Ford Transit vans are outfitted with free WiFi and driven by Chariot’s W-2 employee drivers. Users can reserve a seat up to 45 minutes in advance on the day of their ride via the iOS or Android app and meet their Chariot outside the Elmhurst Metra station or outside the properties for a ride to the Metra station.
“At Chariot, one of our major initiatives is to work with transit agencies, businesses and organizations to create commuting solutions that connect residents with nearby rail and bus stations,” said Chariot CEO Dan Grossman. “We’re looking forward to helping area employees and the local community easily get around the Oak Brook area, and becoming another sustainable transportation option people can rely on in the region.”
Tenants in the participating Oak Brook properties ride for free, and other passengers can ride for the price of $6.30 per ride. 10-ride passes are also available for $58 (a $5 discount), and new riders may use the promo code “oakbrookfreeweek” for a free week of Chariot rides.
“We are always looking for innovative new ways to eliminate barriers to transit ridership,” said Leanne Redden, RTA Executive Director. “This pilot is an opportunity to work with a microtransit provider to allow riders to get to jobs in a community near, but without a Metra station. The project uses tools that were not available even a few years ago, with a greater flexibility to respond to riders and businesses needs and lower public investment, than expanding the current ‘fixed route’ transit system.”
The pilot program is scheduled to run for up to two years. In the first year, 80 percent of the funds will come from RTA, and 20 percent from participating property owners. In the second year, each party will be responsible for 50 percent of the cost.
“Attracting and retaining top talent within our community is a primary focus of the Chamber’s programming,” said Susan Lindquist, Board Chair of the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce and Chief Talent Officer at BCS Financial. “Expanding that pipeline through access to mass transit and innovative commuting solutions will further fuel the economic growth of our members. Many of our member companies are closely connected to the City of Chicago, through their employees, clients or multiple corporate locations. The shuttle enhances the strength of those relationships.”
The first rider was Sandro Plamp, an energy efficiency engineer who heard about the service while he accepted a position in Oak Brook and was determining how he would commute to his new job.
“I don’t own a car and I am used to relying on public transit to get around,” said Sandro. “This service really expanded my possibilities for employment. The Metra - Chariot combination for my commute is reliable and extremely comfortable. It is also very flexible if I need to stay late or come in early for meetings, and it is a great value.”
Millennial workers aged 18-34 make up about a third of the region’s workforce. They are multimodal and increasingly not as interested in getting their drivers’ licenses. 2016 data from Governing Magazine show that 28 percent of households in the city of Chicago have no car.
“Partnering with our businesses and other government entities promotes the economic development, stability and sustainability of our workforce,” said Oak Brook Village Manager Rick Ginex. “For Oak Brook to remain competitive and well serve its over 60,000 daily employees, we must provide a transportation system to bring a highly skilled workforce from the surrounding suburbs and the Chicago metro area. This pilot program provides a great additional commuting tool to the Village.”
About the RTA
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is the transit agency charged with regional financial oversight, funding, and transit planning for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace bus and ADA paratransit. The system provides more than two million trips each weekday on the RTA region’s transit system in six counties with 7,200 transit route miles throughout Northeastern Illinois. The Agency also provides customer services including online and telephone travel planning assistance and travel training for seniors and people with disabilities. For more information, visit www.RTAchicago.org.
Chariot is reinventing transportation with a microtransit solution that is fast, reliable and affordable for people living in today’s cities. Riders can easily reserve a seat on a Chariot via the iOS or Android app, and hop on one of the company’s 14-passenger Ford Transit vehicles operated by friendly, professional employee drivers. After launching in San Francisco in 2014, the company participated in Y Combinator’s Winter 2015 class and was acquired in September 2016 by Ford Smart Mobility to serve as the cornerstone for its global shuttle services business. Chariot runs more than 100 daily routes serving San Francisco, New York, Austin, Seattle, Columbus and London. For more information, visit www.chariot.com.
About the Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Oak Brook Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)6 business association governed by a board of directors comprised of executives from Greater Oak Brook companies representing a wide range of industries: small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, hospitality and retail businesses, technology companies, commercial real estate firms, and more. The related Greater Oak Brook Chamber Economic Development Partnership is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that brings Oak Brook and Oakbrook Terrace businesses and government together to understand and address the economic needs of the Oak Brook area. The EDP conducts research, gathers and analyzes data, publishes information, and coordinates activities on behalf of Oak Brook and Oakbrook Terrace to attract and retain businesses and employees, support commercial revitalization efforts and transportation and infrastructure improvements, and attract and retain a skilled workforce. For more information visit OBChamber.com and GreaterOakBrookPartnership.com.
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