BMO confirms it will anchor 50-story office tower at Union Station

As seen Chicago Tribune

MO Financial Group has confirmed plans to anchor a new 50-story office tower adjacent to Union Station, in a deal that will consolidate 3,600 downtown employees into a single building.

The bank will lease 500,000 square feet of the 700-foot-tall building, which will be called BMO Tower, when it opens in 2022, the bank said Monday.

BMO confirmed a September report in the Tribune, which first reported the bank’s plans for a new U.S. headquarters on the site.

The deal will bring together employees of BMO Harris Bank and other BMO Financial functions, such as wealth management and capital markets.

The 3,600 workers are currently based in more than 700,000 square feet of combined space at 111 W. Monroe St., 115 S. LaSalle St. and 200 W. Adams St.

BMO has leased 14 floors in the low- to mid-rise portion of the tower, with options to add more floors if it adds non-branch employees downtown, said Dave Casper, BMO’s U.S. CEO.

The new space will have a ground-floor bank branch, and BMO will keep its large branch on Monroe Street even after the company vacates its longtime Loop offices, Casper said.

“For a long time, we have wanted to have all of our employees in one location,” Casper said. “The reality is, to get everyone in one location in renovated space meant we would need to look at a new tower.”

The site just south of railway station, which will include a 1.5-acre park, was ideal because 80 percent of the bank’s workers commute by public transportation, Casper said. BMO’s logo will be near the top of the tower.

“To be at this location and have BMO highlight the skyline,it’s a great opportunity,” Casper said. “It solves all of our needs well beyond the near term.”

Toronto-based BMO was represented in the deal by brokers Steve Stratton and Jeff Liljeberg of Jones Lang LaSalle.

The City Council on Oct. 31 approved plans for the Union Station redevelopment.

BMO Tower is part of a larger redevelopment plan by Amtrak and Chicago-based development firms Riverside Investment & Development and Convexity Properties.

The plan also includes a one-story extension of the main building to create a 400-room hotel, as well as new retail on lower levels of the train station.

The office tower is designed by architecture firm Goettsch Partners.

Casper declined to say if the bank plans to be a construction lender on its new office tower.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel in October said the new office tower would cost about $900 million, and would create 5,100 construction jobs.Construction work is expected to start on the approximately 1.5 million-square-foot tower in 2019.

BMO is the only tenant that has signed a lease.

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