Plans For New McDonald’s Headquarters Unwrapped

Rendering of the proposed McDonald's Headquarters at 1058 West Washington Boulevard

The McDevelopment of the month is McDonald’s Corporation’s announcement that it plans to move its headquarters from suburban Oak Brook to Chicago’s Fulton Market District. Adding even more pizazz to the headline: the specific location is Chicago’s treasured Harpo Studios, the former production location for The Oprah Winfrey Show at 1058 West Washington Boulevard.

Tonight Sterling Bay, the developer who purchased the land in May 2014, held a community meeting to showcase its proposal for the fast food giant’s headquarters. The parcel, which encompasses an entire city block, is 90,000 square feet, giving the developer plenty of room to accommodate the burger giant’s sizable workforce. Sterling Bay’s proposal is to build a nine-story building, which although functions as one structure, aesthetically appears as two separate buildings.

Keeping in line with the neighborhoods’ appeal, the building’s façade will be built of brick and steel, and feature a 12-foot setback along Randolph Street to accommodate 40,000 square feet of ground level retail space. Unlike its neighbors, the building will host a two-story underground parking garage with 300 parking spaces, a rarity in Chicago as excavation below street level is costly.

Sterling Bay’s proposal is for McDonald’s to occupy approximately 80% of the building’s leasable area, while the remaining areas are to be leased to retail tenants along the ground level. Satisfying the needs of a commercial tenant this size, Sterling Bay will work with McDonald’s to provide employee shuttle service to and from nearby train stations, and a separate entrance along Carpenter Street for its employees to access the building.

Sterling Bay recently completed construction of its nearby development, 1K Fulton, whose primary tenant is Google. Sterling’s proposal seems to indicate that much of the success of 1K Fulton influenced this building’s design and how it envisions McDonald’s using the space. Namely, the street level retail, open green space and patio areas.

If Sterling Bay and McDonald’s get their way, demolition of the current structure will begin mid-July and construction will be complete by the summer of 2018.

Some quick facts:

  • Developer: Sterling Bay
  • Height: 125 feet
  • 40,000 square feet of ground level retail
  • Seeking LEED Silver Certification
  • Cost: $150,000,000

Location: 1058 West Washington, West Town

Author: Zachary Pollack

Zachary is a lawyer by day and architecture buff by night. At the office Zachary focuses his practice on working with commercial real estate developers and developers focused on subsidized housing projects. Although Zachary grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, he had his heart set on Chicago ever since visiting as a child and being in awe of the city's skyscrapers. Zachary lives in Old Town. On weekends you can find him strolling the streets checking out progress on all the construction sites. Feel free to get in touch with Zac at

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