CBIZ Gibraltar Insights And Resources

Relocate or Renew? —Spencer Foundation Case Study

The Spencer Foundation invests in education research that cultivates learning and transforms lives. The non-profit originally engaged CBIZ Gibraltar in 2011 to evaluate the organization’s office needs and effect a lease transaction accordingly. In 2021, its leadership was faced with the difficult decision to either renew its existing lease at 625 North Michigan Avenue or relocate. This decision is never easy when lease expiration is approaching, but many additional layers of complexity were present due to the significant vacancy in the Chicago CBD office market at the time. The Foundation retained Gibraltar to evaluate if its current office space would produce the greatest long term economic outcome and provide the organization with an environment that aligned best with its mission.

Compiling multiple building options in the North Michigan Avenue corridor for the Foundation to consider — against analysis of the existing space — it was determined that a renewal with the aggressive economics that CBIZ Gibraltar was able to negotiate with the current landlord would yield the best results.

The Gibraltar team was able to secure extremely favorable terms for the renewal with significant upgrades to both public-facing spaces and workspace areas with a reconfiguration within the existing space at 625 North Michigan Avenue. Steve Joseph was the lead negotiating agent representing Spencer Foundation in both 2011 and 2021.

Seamus Byrne led the Workplace Solutions and Project Implementation services for the project, which abled the Foundation to achieve greater efficiencies and develop a contemporary office environment more closely aligned with its mission and mindset. Gibraltar worked closely with the organization’s leadership, design team, contractors and vendors from initial programming through construction and occupancy.