Chicago area's corporate office parks dwindling in age of work-from-home

They span dozens of acres — some are as big as college campuses.

There's just one problem with Chicagoland's many corporate office parks.

"Frankly, they are functionally obsolete, for the most part," said Dan Deuter, Executive Managing Director with Cushman & Wakefield.

"For the most part they're old and they're really outmoded," added commercial real estate reporter Danny Ecker with Crain's. "They don't have the kinds of amenities that companies and employees want today."


In the age of work-from-home and with many employers offering hybrid work models to staff, companies are putting these aging giants up for sale, and are starting to get bites.

Baxter International is the latest local company to announce it's putting its 100-acre Deerfield campus on the market. Ace Hardware just announced it's going to be moving into the old McDonald's Headquarters in Oak Brook, and Northwest Community Hospital just announced a cancer treatment facility on a portion of Motorola's former campus in Schaumburg.

Deuter says these campuses are typically going one of three routes: torn down and converted to industrial space — like warehouse facilities, divided up among multiple commercial tenants, or serve a mixed use.

"We're seeing renewed interest in these suburban corporate campuses, but it's not necessarily for one thing. It's for different things," said Ecker.

Deuter said the fact that the campuses are now starting to change hands is a good economic sign.

"There's two ways for the market to get healthy again: either supply goes down or demand goes up, and we're seeing both happening, so with that will come a recovery in the office market, so this is healthy," Deuter said.