Landmark “CNA Center” Name Moving Across the Loop [u]

Rendering of the new CNA Center at 151 North Franklin (Courtesy of the John Buck Company)

Rendering of the new CNA Center at 151 North Franklin (Courtesy of the John Buck Company)

For almost a half a century, the name “CNA Center” (and its predecessors) has been synonymous with the incongruous red steel skyscraper at 333 South Wabash Avenue, just off Grant Park.  Now that name is going to belong to a new building.

The current CNA Center, constructed in 1973.

The John Buck Company‘s new 151 North Franklin project is now going to be known as CNA Center, as the insurance company has committed to leasing 275,000 square feet of the planned glassy new tower in the northwest corner of the Loop.  151 will become the global headquarters of CNA.  It is unclear if any operations will remain in big red back on Wabash, or the similar slate gray tower next door to at 55 East Jackson Boulevard. CNA’s CEO, Thomas F. Motamed, said, “The iconic building we call ‘Big Red’ has served us well since 1972, and it will always be an important part of our history and legacy. Much has changed in the way we work over the past 40 years, and CNA Center at 151 North Franklin is designed specifically to meet our needs today and well into the future.”

“As CNA has been a prominent company and employer in the City of Chicago, we are very proud to be able to keep their global headquarters here,” said John A. Buck, Chairman, The John Buck Company. “We’d like to thank Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Reilly for their continued support of this project.”

Early next year the John Buck Company is going to buy 333 South Wabash from CNA, and then lease it back to the insurance company until the new headquarters on Franklin Street is ready.

Earlier this year the law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson committed to 100,000 square feet of space at 151 North Franklin, bringing the total space pre-leased to 47%.  That figure appears to be enough to kick the John Buck Company into construction mode, as the Walgreens formerly on the property has been demolished, and the Buck Company it is now predicting a summer, 2018 delivery date for the new 35-story tower.

The new CNA Center was designed by John Ronan Associates, with Adamson Associates acting as the executive architect.  The developer describes the building thusly:

With LEED-CS Gold Certified design specifications, each of the 35 floors will feature 9’6” finished ceilings, column-less corner offices and column-free space. Amenities will include two restaurants, a professionally managed fitness center, 250-seat conference facility, three outdoor venues including a rooftop terrace for tenants, 24/7/365 security, bike parking with access to shower facilities, and a sundry store. 34 indoor executive parking stalls will be connected to the 500 stall parking garage currently located at 200 West Randolph. The building will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology for HVAC controls, cellular connectivity and electrical distribution.

Updated Wednesday, December 16 @ 2:27CT with quote from CNA C.E.O. Thomas Motamed.

Rendering of the new CNA Center at 151 North Franklin (Courtesy of the John Buck Company)

Rendering of the new CNA Center at 151 North Franklin (Courtesy of the John Buck Company)


Location: 151 North Franklin Street, The Loop

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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