- Chicago has issued a building permit for the new $250 million, 600,000-square-foot McDonald's headquarters in Chicago's West Loop, clearing the way for construction to begin, according to Curbed Chicago.
- Crews have already bulldozed the site, which as formerly home to Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios complex, so that work on the foundation and two-story underground parking garage can get underway while the city reviews the rest of the company's Gensler-designed building plans.
- The company first announced the move from the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook back in June and expects to be able to move into the West Loop facility in 2018.
Although McDonald's will occupy most of the space in the nine-story structure, there will be approximately 40,000 additional square feet available for lease. When the company first unveiled the design, it also said there would be ground-floor retail, which could include a McDonald's restaurant. Other features include green roof spaces, an outdoor patio and an exterior of steel, brick and glass that will blend into the rest of the area.
The company's move likely has a great deal to do with the kind of talent it hopes to draw in the future. The walkable, urban nature of the West Loop area would most likely appeal to younger, millennial workers. This is the same concept that is driving other Chicago developments like the $1.5 billion Chicago Riverline project, which will see the addition of 3,600 residential units in the city's South Loop neighborhood. Related Cos.' Midwest division also has plans to transform a de facto homeless encampment at a 62-acre abandoned Chicago rail yard into a multibillion-dollar, mixed-use development of residential, office and retail.
In January, another fast food giant, Burger King, announced that it would not leave Miami and, instead, build a new headquarters near its current location. Even though the company's parent company is in Canada, the fast food chain has called Miami home since 1959. Burger King occupies 200,000 square feet now, but will downsize to 150,000 square feet when it moves to its new facility, which will be five stories and focus on open, collaborative spaces.