What the WPP Move Means For Chicago

What the WPP Move Means For Chicago

The advertising holding company WPP Group announced plans late last week to consolidate the Chicago offices of its agencies in a new headquarters building that is under development in the West Loop/Fulton Market District.

Fulton Market and the West Loop have attracted a variety of creative companies over the last several years as new development has displaced the old warehousing and meatpacking industries. WPP's plans to lease 253,000 square feet in a new building being developed at Halsted Street and the Kennedy Expressway.

The new office, which they hope to open by 2020, will be home to agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, J. Walter Thompson, GroupM and Wunderman.

Mark Androw's STORY re-located to the West Loop in recent years. He sees a bright future in the area.

"The West Loop is conducive to creative companies because its eclectic mix of warehouse and loft space and new high tech office space," Androw said. "We have a lightning fast fiber line in our office and fifty great restaurants within a short walk. It is a very convenient neighbor and when McDonald’s new corporate office moves in across the street, it will be very convenient for pre-pro meetings with one of our favorite clients."

Leviathan opened in a West Loop location in 2010. They've seen a lot of change but think that the core identity of the neighborhood's creative culture is only growing stronger.

"When we first moved in to the neighborhood almost eight years ago, there were still a ton of forklifts hauling frozen meat up and down the one-way street that is Fulton Market," Leviathan's president Chad Hutson recalled. "There was actually parking then as well. But even before then, this was a terrific creative neighborhood...art galleries, design companies and photographers were just as common as seafood distributors, and the architecture has always been interesting as well. As larger groups like Google moved in and renovations across streets and buildings began throughout the area, the parking spaces have all but disappeared, but the creative spirit is still very much alive...it's just becoming more polished than before."

And Optimus President Tom Duff sees the move as a vote of confidence, not just in a booming area, but in Chicago as well.

"All the WPP agencies in Chicago are great clients to work for," he said, "them making more of a commitment to our town is a testament to the depth of the talent pool."