Brought to you by the letters MSRBOT

I must be on a public television kick.  After writing about open offices and Mr. Rogers, I was inspired to provide another PBS reference in the title of this post – anyone recognize the reference?

This post has very little to do with commercial real estate, except insofar as it relates to the Corporate Real Estate blog.  In fact, it actually has to do with blogging and particularly RSS feeds.  This Wednesday afternoon, I was visiting Feedburner to review activity on my “burned” RSS feed.  Essentially, Feedburner – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google – has some really neat free services for bloggers and other web publishers.  I can track statistics like who is viewing my feeds and how they are accessing them (see Competitors are keeping an eye on me for more details).
Continue reading


A CRM product that actually helps manage your business relationships… priceless

I am a big fan of the concept of “Better living through efficiency.”  As a result, I love technology products that make my life easier.  It’s an added bonus when they don’t cost a penny and can actually serve to make me more effective at helping my clients. Take Microsoft Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2003 (BCM, for short), as an example. Continue reading

Chicago industrial buildings being adapted for high-tech data centers – irony ensues!

This afternoon, I read Susan Diesenhouse’s Chicago Tribune article entitled Chicago’s old industrial base make it hot site for data centers.  Two things struck me after reading this article:

  1. It’s fantastic that Chicago is in a position to attract data center development and remain in a position to draw leading software and technology firms into what I dub “Silicon Plains”.
  2. It’s ironic that the buildings that fueled the Industrial Revolution are now being adapted for high-tech purposes.

Let’s take these one at a time.  Continue reading

It’s official – my friends at Microsoft are moving away

Some of you may not know this, but I spent several years at Microsoft Corporation in Chicago before I moved one block down the street to work in commercial real estate.  When I was at Microsoft, there were often rumors that we were going to relocate the offices.  One day it was the Hancock Tower, the next it was the Sears Tower.  At one point, one of my colleagues mentioned something about moving into the South Loop.  Talk about early adopter – we would have been bleeding edge, a major corporation opening regional headquarters space in the South Loop, near McCormick Place (unheard of!).

As a result of all the rumors during my tenure, I didn’t give too much credibility to Microsoft Close to Moving Chicago Office, despite the fact that it was reported by Crain’s Business Journal.  However, Commercial Property News has confirmed the rumor – Microsoft Commits to Chicago Aon Center Lease.  To all of my friends and former colleagues, I wish you well on your move – although you’re leaving a great building, you’ll be taken care of at Aon, trading your fine Chicago River views for some phenomenal

My thoughts on why Microsoft moved:

  • 77 W. Wacker (The United Building) is currently doing deals in the $42-47/SF gross range; 200 E. Randolph (The AON Center) is running between $30-34/SF gross.  Despite being farther from most mass transit, including CTA and Metra trains, the lower cost is still substantial and worth trading off other amenities.
  • Prime Group Realty Trust, owners of 77 W. Wacker, may honestly not had the means to accommodate Microsoft’s growing space needs, especially given the rumor of United Airlines planned growth of 108,500 more square feet than they currently occupy (see UAL Looks to Expand Downtown HQ).
  • According to the Commercial Property News article, “Microsoft was represented by Jones Lang LaSalle’s Steve Steinmeyer and Luanne Reedy.”  What the article doesn’t mention is that the AON Center leasing is managed by Steve Smith, also of Jones Lang LaSalle.