Salesforce's New Chicago Tower Redefines Downtown Office Space Amid Remote Work Trend

Salesforce's New Chicago Tower Redefines Downtown Office Space Amid Remote Work TrendSource: X/Mayor Brandon Johnson
Jo Marquez
Published on December 07, 2023

Shooting skyward at the junction of the Chicago River's branches, the Salesforce Tower Chicago has officially pierced the city skyline, bringing a new twist to the downtown office scene. As initially reported by Crain's Chicago Business, the doors of the gleaming 60-story tower were opened to the media, revealing a space reshaped by the aftereffects of the pandemic.

On the leasing front, Salesforce has claimed about 360,000 square feet of the 500,000 it holds; the rest lies vacant, waiting to be subleased. This downsizing mirrors a broader trend among corporations that have had to reassess space requirements amidst the ebb and flow of remote work. Still, Salesforce has hit its employment target, adding 1,000 Chicago-based workers before the year was expected, yet on any given day, only 800 of Salesforce's 2,200 Chicago employees make use of the office, per company executives' Tuesday tour.

In transforming the office environment, Salesforce has opted for a design that promotes gathering and collaboration, trimming down on individual workstations. "We've focused on employee choice and flexibility," Relina Bulchandani, Executive Vice President of Real Estate and Workplace Services at Salesforce, told Crain's Chicago Business. Bulchandani underscored the importance of diverse spaces, echoing the company's pivot towards residential comfort in response to the pandemic's impact on work habits.

Notwithstanding the embrace of remote work, Salesforce's tower still bears the company's signature touches, such as the "Ohana" floors for community engagement. Acknowledging their corporate responsibility, Salesforce's community stewardship extends beyond architecture; the tech giant has invested significantly in local efforts to the tune of $16 million in grants and 270,000 volunteer hours. Echoing these achievements, the city's mayor hailed Salesforce on X for its "lasting commitment to our city’s growth."

Environmental stewardship is also high on Salesforce's agenda, with all-electric mechanical systems powering the tower. Interface, a company known for its eco-friendly approach, provided carpeting made from recycled fishing nets. Solidifying its presence in Chicago, Salesforce has consolidated its local workforce from various locales into the tower under a lease that stretches until May 2040.