North Side Office Space: Thinking Outside the Loop

In a major market like Chicago, looking for office space perfectly suited to your business can be overwhelming. There are many options for space, but not every location offers the accessibility, market opportunities and affordability of the North Side. North Side office space in Chicago is still being offered at reasonable prices and includes amenities not found in the Loop. For many years, businesses would only consider offices located in the Loop. However, growth in Chicago’s surrounding neighborhoods is leading to more unique options for companies seeking new and creative spaces.

When beginning a search for an office in Chicago, it may be tempting to start in the Loop. This area, while indeed bustling and centrally located, has become oversaturated, leading to higher lease prices and less options for quality space. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, “downtown Chicago office vacancy fell for the third consecutive quarter, ending 2014 at its lowest level in six years.” The trend in commercial real estate has been to explore flexible spaces in areas that are outside of The Loop, as this increase in occupancy means fewer options.

Startups and tech companies have caught on to the opportunities available in Chicago’s neighborhoods, like the North Side. As the tech market here grows, companies are searching for spaces that will offer amenities to employees not found in downtown high rises. Ample parking, fitness centers and access to outdoor spaces draw these younger, more creative businesses to loft and single story flex spaces outside the Loop. Tech companies are growing quickly and require space that will grow with them or they will need to head to other areas. An example in a recent article points out that Food Genius, Inc., a small company that grew from two people to fourteen in three years, has moved five times in that short period. Now they are located in a more flexible space, in a North Side neighborhood, allowing them to be prepared for the next period of growth.

Not only are companies thinking outside the Loop, but they are also focusing outside of the suburbs. Once coveted for its space and ease of access and parking, suburban spaces are now becoming vacant, as more companies move to city locations to draw younger talent. As this recent Wall Street Journal article discusses, companies are seeking “urban amenities, proximity to public transit and sense of community – the same qualities young workers prize when deciding where to live and work”.  Companies such as Continental Holdings, Hillshire Brands and Motorola are all leaving their long-standing suburban homes for newer, more community friendly urban spaces. With the transition back to the city, these companies are finding that talent that once turned them down for jobs because of the commute to the “burbs” or other arguments about their location, are now accepting offers for positions. Choosing a location in the growing north side neighborhood will ensure that you can utilize this pool of young, creative talent.

Within Chicago, advancements in transportation and roadways are contributing to growth in commercial and industrial real estate on the North Side. Illinois lawmakers are in the process of working on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that will allow for improvements to the CTA Red Line on the North Side, runway expansions at O’Hare airport and a long-overdue refurbishing of Lake Shore Drive (source). This kind of progress will only make Chicago’s North Side office space more attractive to companies seeking new space. Neighborhoods on the North Side are also amongst those offering “walkable living” to its residents. Newly planned transit-oriented residential developments will focus on car-free living and can draw a younger demographic. These kinds of investments in green living bring a desirable demographic for a solid labor force. One such development is planned for 3400 N. Lincoln Ave., which is located near the Bradley Business Center.

Are you ready to think outside of the Loop and move to Chicago’s North Side? The Bradley Business Center can offer your company a perfectly appointed, flexible North Side office space. When you choose Bradley you benefit from being located in a thriving neighborhood. O’Hare Airport, the Kennedy Expressway, public transportation, and a vibrant workforce are all found just steps from the the Bradley Business Center. We also offer great amenities, ample parking, access to public transportation, and flexible leasing options. Our 350,000 square foot center houses shared office, single story flex and corporate office space. We would like to invite you to contact our sales representative to see for yourself why the Bradley Business Center is the ideal place for you to work like you live.

Turn Forgotten Goals into New Year Opportunities

The new year is here and as a small business owner you already know the value of reflecting back at your successes from the last year. However, make sure you are also considering the goals that you may have not gotten around to starting. Find that list of resolutions from last year, dust it off and see what was not completed. The best laid plans and ideas could have been derailed by unknown factors and the normal course of business. As you look to set your goals for the coming year, find the opportunities on this list that you didn’t complete. Analyze, delegate and create action plans to make the most of these newly energized goals.

While you are celebrating what was hopefully a year full of achievement, it may be easy to lose focus on analyzing what didn’t get accomplished. After all, it is more fun to thank employees and partners, than to push them for the hows and whys of a particular project. Analyzing your goals before you place them back on this year’s new list should consist of starting a SWOT analysis. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis needs to have a purpose, so work through a SWOT for each goal. For example, if your goal was finding a new north side office space you may note items like “allow for expansion”, “better location for networking and meeting clients”, “cost of moving”, etc. as part of your analysis for this goal. Your new list of goals will include items that make sense for your business plan and will help support your vision, as well as offer immediate solutions.

As you work through your list of goals, it will be natural to feel a bit overwhelmed. Identifying how to energize opportunities is a big job so don’t be afraid to involve staff members in on this planning process. They often will have different perspectives and ideas as to why a goal should be handled in certain way. Going back to the goal of finding a new office location, once you speak with your staff and outline your concerns, you may find that they are better equipped to find the best areas to consider and the buildings that offer the best amenities. Delegating is not just for companies with multiple employees, however. Entrepreneurs should work to build a network of contacts they can rely on to help with goals like the example of finding a new north side office space. Ask for referrals to find special locations like shared office space or single story flex space. Just asking for opinions from people you do business with will help take some research off of your plate. And you’ll have the benefit of knowing that your business contacts will like coming to visit your new offices, too. Delegating is a crucial element to the success of your new list of goals and works for any size company.

Now it is time to take action. While analyzing and delegating do not lose sight of the fact that each of these goals will need realistic action plans created. Take the analysis and facts you have gathered and apply them as you write your plans. Tackling a goal like relocating to a new north side office space will require careful planning. According to Entrepreneur, there are five main reasons that companies consider moving. They include work force availability, the desire to reach new markets, growth and expansion, lower costs and increase quality of life. You will need to have an exact course of action after considering these reasons to have the most success meeting this goal. Reasons like these will directly affect your bottom line and help to highlight the importance of considering all factors when working towards reaching any goal.

The new year is a perfect time to take your forgotten goals and turn them into opportunities for 2015. With some analyzing, delegating and planning you can succeed at tasks like finding new north side office space and moving to a location better suited for your company. The Bradley Business Center will help fulfil your reasons for needing new north side office space, such as expansion, personnel resources and a more convenient location. Contact us to learn more and allow us to help you cross one more important goal off of your list. Happy New Year and best wishes for a successful and profitable 2015!