The National Association of REALTORS® Tuesday showed off a new look for what has been its home of nearly 50 years along downtown Chicago’s exclusive riverfront. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, local lawmakers, and association leaders were present to unveil the completed renovations of NAR’s Chicago headquarters.
NAR has worked with GNP Realty Partners and One Development to redevelop its headquarters over the last three years. The project included a redesigned Plaza of the Americas, where flags from the members of the Organization of American States surround a statue of the first indigenous president of Mexico Benito Juárez, and a vertical expansion—the Sky Level—that offers an innovative space with a showpiece circular boardroom, featuring sweeping views of the Chicago’s famous downtown architecture. The renovations also included new state-of-the-art mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; biometric security infrastructure; and a new elevator system.
NAR has operated its offices on Michigan Avenue since 1974. “The Magnificent Mile is one of the jewels of the U.S., and dare I say, the world,” Lightfoot said during Tuesday’s ceremony. “This investment is a testament to the longstanding vitality of Michigan Avenue.”
A Beacon for Commercial Real Estate
The unveiling also marks NAR’s broad push to prop up the commercial real estate sector as it recovers from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Housing fared remarkably well during the pandemic, but our members who make a living in commercial real estate had a much different experience,” said Bob Goldberg, NAR’s CEO. “The industry is healing along with the nation’s overall economy, but there is so much we can still do to get it back where it was before COVID. NAR is proud to be making a tangible, lasting investment in an urban center like Chicago, as these communities will need businesses and investors to return in order to experience a full, lasting recovery.”
About 350 union jobs were created from the project’s start to its completion. The renovations employed more than 150 national and local businesses. It added $50 million to the economies of the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois.
“We give people a place to call home; Chicago is our home,” Charlie Oppler, NAR’s president, said in remarks during Tuesday’s ceremony.