Landlords try homey touches to get you back to the officeDavid Roederon September 27, 2021 at 10:30 am

If the pandemic has put you on a work-from-home regimen, chances are you’ve come to terms with the arrangement.

There’s the coffee the way you want it, the dress code is gone, the commute is from one room to the next, and nobody minds if you knock off for a while to get your kids to soccer. Flexibility is the new rule, and some form of it is expected to survive once the pandemic blessedly abates.

But that has office building landlords concerned. They want you back, at least regularly if not every day. There’s a kind of arms race in building amenities designed to coax people out of their homes because landlords know if there is less demand for physical offices, tenants don’t need all that space.

“Before, we were competing with other landlords. Now we are competing with people’s apartments,” said Thais Galli, managing director at property owner Tishman Speyer.

At the 26-story Tishman-managed building at 222 N. La Salle St., the lobby has been renovated to include a tenants-only area called the Clubhouse. It has places to work out, meditate, get a manicure, eat lunch prepared by steakhouse Prime & Provisions or enjoy happy hour.

Places to eat, drink, relax, exercise or socialize are common themes. Some buildings have declared an entire floor as amenities-only, and on a high level with views. Examples include the tower at 1 S. Wacker Drive. On the 28th floor is a three-story glass atrium lounge connecting to an outdoor deck, an “executive-style” health club and a space for “nap pods,” futuristic-looking recliners.

In 2017, Aon Center at 200 E. Randolph St. opened amenities on its 70th floor. But it also has paid attention to the ground level and whether it’s inviting for tenants or visitors. The building opened last week a redesigned plaza that minimizes the old granite-heavy effect, creating a front yard for this 1972 colossus.

Some landlords started this before the pandemic, but COVID-19 accelerated the trend, said Lori Mukoyama, a principal at the design firm Gensler, which has worked with many building owners. She said the attention has extended from lobbies, which are starting to look like hotels, up to the rooftops, where the Old Post Office at 433 W. Van Buren St. has set the standard, creating a 3.5-acre park and event space.

Common areas are getting sofas, area rugs, bookshelves and lots of plants to mimic the comforts of home, she said. At developer Sterling Bay’s new building at 333 N. Green St., there’s a room with a pivoting bookcase that swings open to a private reading room, Mukoyama said. She said she’s working on a design for a music listening room at a site to be named.

Lori MukoyamaGensler

The most recent buildings in booming Fulton Market have prioritized tenant access to outdoor space. But Mukoyama said existing buildings also have gotten creative. Willis Tower has added outdoor yoga while also “curating a really great food hall” to attract tenants, she said. Mukoyama is working with the Merchandise Mart to open some space facing the river and to redesign how its interior storefronts connect to the hallways.

The desire for fitness is built into many designs. Pool tables and shuffleboard often turn up in buildings now, and the Old Post Office lets you shoot hoops on the roof. Having a gym on-site is standard issue. So far, people in Chicago haven’t demanded accommodations for pets, although that’s a thing in California, said Tishman’s Galli.

Is all this a bit too much imbibing, relaxing, socializing at work? “The last year and a half, we were taught we still get our work done when we’re not stuck in our 5-foot cubicles,” Mukoyama said.

Meanwhile, the Great Migration back to the office has been on hold as the Delta variant prowls. Data from Kastle, which provides building security systems, shows that in the Chicago area, office buildings are at about 31% of their occupancy levels. A year ago, it was around 20%.

The region ranks in the middle of the 10 top U.S. metros. Companies had talked about calling people back after July 4th and Labor Day. Now, it’s into next year.

Robert Sevim, vice chairman in Chicago for Savills, which represents tenants in lease negotiations, said bosses and their workers still want the advantages of face-to-face contact and the collaboration it fosters. The amenities fit with that.

“What they get by being in the office has to be more appealing and effective than staying at home ad infinitum,” he said.

Landlords swallow the cost of amenities and give up rentable square feet, yet “it’s a smart move because it brings in the tenants that fill the rest of the space,” Sevim said.

Yes, napping and games are getting to be OK at the office. Leave the PJs and the pooch at home, but it’s looking good for your favorite slippers.

A quiet space for tenants at 333 N. Green St.Tom Harris/Design by Gensler

A bocce court inside a lounge at the Old Post Office, 433 W. Van Buren St.Eric Laignel/Design by Gensler

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1 killed, 3 wounded — including 17-year-old — in Humboldt Park shootingSun-Times Wireon September 27, 2021 at 8:18 am

One person was killed and three others, including a 17-year-old, were wounded Monday morning in Humboldt Park on the Northwest Side.

The group were standing about 1:40 a.m. in the 800 block of North Ridgeway Avenue when someone in a dark-colored sedan opened fire, police said.

A 34-year-old man was shot in the chest, and was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he died, police said. His name hasn’t been released yet.

Two males, 17 and 24, were also taken to Stroger with a gunshot wound to the right leg, police said. Both were listed in good condition, authorities, said.

A 39-year-old man was also shot in the right leg, and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was in good condition, police said.

No one was in custody.

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Man fatally shot in Park ManorSun-Times Wireon September 27, 2021 at 6:08 am

A man was fatally shot Sunday night in Park Manor on the South Side.

A 36-year-old was walking on the sidewalk about 9:05 p.m. in the first block of East 71st Street when he was struck by gunfire in the back and body, police said.

He was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he died, police said. His name hasn’t been released yet.

No one was in custody.

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Horoscope for Monday, Sept. 27, 2021Georgia Nicolson September 27, 2021 at 5:01 am

Moon Alert

There are no restrictions to shopping or important decisions until 11:05 p.m. Chicago time. The moon is in Gemini.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

This is a lovely day to schmooze, especially siblings, relatives and neighbors. You are curious about what’s going on, and you want to share your ideas with someone. Short trips will please you. Stay light on your feet so that you can jump in either direction.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Money, cash flow and your financial situation is on your mind. (Hardly surprising because you are the financial wizard of the zodiac!) You might have some excellent money-making ideas. Make time to play because this is the perfect day to socialize, especially with kids.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Today the moon is in your sign, which might make you more emotional than usual. The good news is it also slightly increases your good luck. This is a lovely day to enjoy the company of others. Do what pleases you. Kick back, relax and have a great day!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

It’s Monday, but you want to hide or work alone or behind the scenes. (You’re just not ready to meet all the demands of the world out there.) You need some buffer time to get performance ready. Find a hideaway place where you can chill and relax.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

You will enjoy conversations with female companions because this is a friendly day and people are keen to socialize. You might enjoy the company of a group or an organization. This is a good day to share your dreams for the future with someone to get their feedback.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Today, people notice you more than usual. (They might be discussing personal details about your private life.) No worries because, basically, this is a fun-loving day, and with Venus in your House of Communications, you are smooth and charming with everyone.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Do something to shake things up a little because you want adventure and stimulation. However, the kind of stimulation you want today might be a great table at a wonderful restaurant or something that really pleases you. This is a lovely day to socialize because you’ve got energy to burn!

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

With Venus in your sign now, you are smooth and diplomatic, which is why you will enjoy relaxing with others today. Quite likely, you will prefer something low key and behind the scenes. (Your contact with someone from your past might be hush hush.)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

This is a great way to begin your week. Because the moon today is opposite your sign, it’s best to go more than halfway when dealing with others. Hey, this is no biggie, it simply requires some friendly cooperation. You’ve got this.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

You look fabulous in the eyes of bosses, parents, teachers and VIPs right now because the sun is at high noon in your chart, casting you in a flattering spotlight. You don’t even have to do anything special — it’s smoke and mirrors. Relations with coworkers will be friendly.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

You are in play mode, which is why you should do yourself a favor and make some time to relax and have fun with others. Take a long lunch. Enjoy the company of children, romantic partners or sports colleagues. Discuss travel plans?

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

You might want to play hooky and hide at home today because this is what will give you a warm feeling in your tummy. Some of you will have a cozy discussion with a female family member, maybe Mom. You will definitely enjoy cocooning at home.

If Your Birthday Is Today

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow (1972) shares your birthday. You are energetic, alert and very alive. You are also kind-hearted and sincere. Because you are success oriented, you work hard to achieve your goals. This year you have a strong drive for freedom, which means you will embrace and be open to change. There will be times when you have to act quickly — trust your intuition and stay focused.

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16-year-old grazed, man wounded in Little Village shootingSun-Times Wireon September 27, 2021 at 5:26 am

A 16-year-old boy was grazed and a man wounded in a shooting Sunday night in Little Village on the West Side.

A man, 41, was outside about 10:50 p.m. in the 3400 block of West 23rd Street when someone in a grey-colored sedan opened fire, striking him in the torso and grazing the teen, Chicago police said.

The man self-transported to Saint Anthony Hospital, but was transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was in critical condition, police said.

The teen was grazed in the leg, and was taken to Mount Sinai, where he was in good condition, police said.

No one was in custody.

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3 things we learned: No. 7 Salukis rev up offense after sputtering through 1st halfon September 27, 2021 at 1:58 am

Prairie State Pigskin

3 things we learned: No. 7 Salukis rev up offense after sputtering through 1st half

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Sky are headed back to the WNBA semifinals after 89-76 win over the LynxAnnie Costabileon September 26, 2021 at 11:14 pm

James Wade has coached in some memorable games in Minneapolis, including the 2017 WNBA Finals when he was part of Cheryl Reeve’s coaching staff.

Ahead of Sunday’s second-round playoff game against the third-seeded Lynx, Wade said he hadn’t put too much thought into coaching against Reeve in the playoffs for the first time. After leading his team to an 89-76 win against the Lynx and the Sky’s first semifinal appearance since 2016 Wade had some thoughts.

“[This game ranks] really high,” Wade said. “I would say at the top. Professionally, this is the greatest gift I’ve been given leading the Sky.”

The Sky came into a rocking Target Center.

Part of the team’s game plan was being aggressive in the paint and they succeeded in that through all four quarters. In the Sky’s last meeting with the Lynx, Azura Stevens had five points on three shot attempts. The Sky needed more from her Sunday and they got it.

Stevens had no problem backing down 2021 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Sylvia Fowles in the paint. She finished with 15 points on 44% shooting and had eight rebounds. She played a critical role in limiting the Lynx to just six offensive rebounds.

Courtney Vandersloot led the Sky’s balanced attack that had five Sky players score in double figures, none of whom were Candace Parker who had eight points and four rebounds. Vandersloot finished with 19 points, five assists and five rebounds. Kahleah Copper had a double-double scoring 16 points and pulling down 10 boards. Allie Quigley added 11 points and Diamond DeShields had 14 on 80% shooting.

The Sky outscored the Lynx 48-32 in the paint.

“They know who they are,” Reeve said. “They were so persistent in their identity and we could break that.”

All season the Sky have struggled to put a complete game together. Following their first-round game against the Wings, Wade said he was happy with everything but his team’s third-quarter performance.

Against the Lynx, the Sky played a complete game, winning every quarter except the first which they lost by one point.

Clicking at the right time has been the message the Sky have preached since the Olympic break. The first two rounds of the playoffs are proof that they are.

“We have talented players,” Wade said. “And maybe they go somewhere else and can do more but they are bought in to everybody stepping up for their moment.”

Fowles was honored before the game with her fourth WNBA DPOY award, joining Tamika Catchings as the only player in league history to win it four or more times.

The Sky struggled to limit her touches in the first half but had her number in the second. She finished with 17 points and eight rebounds and fouled out of the game in the fourth quarter.

Aerial Powers came up big for the Lynx finishing with 24 points. Powers led a Lynx run that cut the Sky’s lead to four in the fourth quarter. Quigley responded with a three in the corner off the assist from Vandersloot. The Sky had an answer for every Lynx attempt to cut their lead.

Next, the Sky will head to Connecticut to play the No. 1 Sun in Game 1 of the WNBA semifinals on Sept. 28. The Sun boasts the best defensive rating in the league through the regular season with four of their players named to the WNBA’s all-defensive first or second team.

If the Sky can continue to involve all of their offensive weapons, the Sun will be forced to pick their poison.

“We’re exactly where we want to be playing the best basketball of the season,” Vandersloot said.

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Halas Intrigue Episode 181: What the heck was that?Sun-Times staffon September 27, 2021 at 1:08 am

After the Bears’ debacle against the Browns, Patrick Finley, Jason Lieser and Mark Potash break down Matt Nagy’s mistakes, Justin Fields’ performance and just how far the Bears have to go to improve.

New episodes of “Halas Intrigue” will be published regularly with accompanying stories collected on the podcast’s hub page. You can also listen to “Halas Intrigue” wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Luminary, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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‘Exhausted’ Odell Beckham Jr. relieved to finally return to BrownsTom Withers | APon September 27, 2021 at 1:22 am

CLEVELAND — All kinds of emotions enwrapped Odell Beckham Jr. from the moment he sprinted out of the tunnel to a roaring ovation.

A few hours later, he had nothing left.

“Exhausted,” Beckham said, sliding into a chair for his postgame news conference. “I lost my voice and I wasn’t even screaming, so I don’t know what happened. I’m exhausted. It’s time to go home.”

Almost 11 months since his 2020 season ended in Cincinnati with a knee injury that cost him a playoff appearance and sparked debate about his value, Beckham returned to the field Sunday, He made an immediate impact as the Browns thrashed the Bears 26-6.

Beckham caught five passes from Baker Mayfield for 77 yards, added 10 yards rushing and provided a glimpse of what he could mean going forward for Cleveland’s offense — a scoring threat from anywhere on the field.

For Beckham, the grueling rehab sessions, the hours of weight-room work and the dedication paid off. His comeback’s complete — at last. But there were a few times he felt overwhelmed by its ending.

“There has been so much made of the first game back,” he said. “I try to downplay it but everyone else close to you and the people around you, the whole kind of vibe. You are trying not to think about it and then it gets put on you.

“I came out and tried not to go crazy in warmup or anything. Just get my legs underneath me. I got to the game, and I swear I just felt like each play I could not get them underneath me. A lot of things to look at the film and improve on, and that is all we can do.”

Although it may not have reached his high standards, Beckham’s first game since Oct. 25 impressed his teammates.

“He’s back like he never left,” said running back Kareem Hunt, who had 155 yards and a 26-yard touchdown run. “I told him that. He looked great out there. Looking forward to seeing many more.”

Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett said Beckham had every right to be worn out.

“He’s more tired than me,” said Garrett, who recorded a career-high 4 1/2 sacks. “He looked good. You saw him, those hands are immaculate and the guy’s a hell of a route runner, so just love being able to watch him.”

One play before Beckham’s first reception — a 13-yard grab, appropriately matching his jersey number — he was pulled down from behind on an incomplete pass. It was the 28-year-old’s first significant contact in a game since being hurt last year, and for a second he feared he might be injured again.

“Needed it,” said of the contact. “First hit came on a pass that I did not catch, and my shoulder popped out. I was like, all right of course something like that would happen. It was good to feel that and get back into it.

“The game went on, and it was a little bit smoother.”

Later, he was asked to clarify what happened to his shoulder and what he meant about not having his legs.

“Football stuff. Shoulder pop out, put it back in, keep playing,” Beckham said. “Like I was saying, it’s like a boxer who you can’t get your legs underneath you, you don’t have the same bounce. It’s not a lack of explosion or anything like that, it’s just that first-game emotions, energy, everything kinda running through you.”

Beckham was hyped before his hyped return.

He took the field for pregame warmups wearing gold-colored headphones and a Jarvis “Juice” Landry” T-shirt to honor his injured teammate and close friend, who went on injured reserve last week with a sprained knee.

“I had the shirt before any incident went down, I was going to wear it regardless, but it just seemed fitting,” he said.

At one point before the game, Beckham jumped into the first rows of seats to celebrate with his brother, who had flown into see him play.

“It was amazing,” Beckham said. “We just kind of embraced each other like the moment we’ve talked about this whole 10 1/2 months and it’s finally here.”

When Beckham went down last year, the Browns took off and made the playoffs without him. His absence spawned theories that Mayfield is better off not having Beckham.

But the two worked on their chemistry during the offseason and Beckham said he felt the connection in his return.

“We hit a couple throws, things I could definitely work on,” he said. “Glad to get that one out the way.”

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