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Google’s search for new home for Chicago office ends in West Loop

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Google Inc. said Thursday it will relocate its Chicago office to the Fulton Market district in the West Loop.

The decision involving some 500 employees reflects the district’s transformation from a stronghold for meat and produce wholesalers to a general business area similar to River North. Fashionable restaurants and loft offices already have elbowed their way alongside the food distributors.

Google will move into 200,000 square feet at 1000 W. Fulton beginning in 2016, said Rob Biederman, its Midwest public affairs manager. It will relocate from 150,000 square feet at 20 W. Kinzie.

Its new home is the old Fulton Market Cold Storage warehouse, which is undergoing a gut rehab. Owner Sterling Bay Cos. is renovating the 380,000-square-foot structure, which was formerly windowless, for offices and retail space.

“We really feel it’s a great location with the access to public transportation. It’s close to the Kennedy Expressway,” Biederman said. He said that by moving into newly built space, Google can design it to its specifications.

The move is separate from jobs being brought into Chicago by Google’s Motorola Mobility division. Google is moving about 2,200 of those employees from a Libertyville campus to the top four floors of the Merchandise Mart.

Sterling Bay plans to include parking within the old warehouse and to build a smaller building for offices and retailers next door.

Roger Romanelli, executive director of the Randolph Fulton Market Association, said the nearby manufacturers welcome Google and other office tenants that will come into the building. He said the manufacturers earlier had concerns about the development’s retail component and negotiated a zoning deal that limits the size of any single store in the project.

He said the 95 industrial firms in the area have adapted well to an influx of residents and pedestrians. Some companies are modernizing their space, he said.

Crain’s Chicago Business first reported Google’s negotiations for the Fulton Market space.



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