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Chicago’s famous ‘Big Red’ skyscraper scores anchor tenant and a new name

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Officially known as CNA Center, the 44-story brightly-colored tower is also getting major renovations

Curbed Chicago Flickr pool/Chris Wilson

CNA Center, one of the Windy City’s most recognizable office towers, is poised to land a major tenant as well as a new name. According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago-based Northern Trust plans to consolidate between 2,500 and 3,000 employees in the 44-story building at 333 S. Wabash. The deal will see the bank lease 462,000 square feet in the 1.2-million-square-foot tower also affectionately known as “Big Red.”

In addition to naming rights, the agreement also grants Northern Trust exterior signage and the option to expand its footprint within the building if needed. It represents the year’s second largest office lease, surpassed only by Bank of America’s commitment to anchor a planned 800-foot tower at 110 N. Wacker.

The “new” CNA building under construction at 151 N. Franklin.
John Ronan Architects

Northern Trust is a major score for the John Buck Company which acquired the 1972 crimson-colored building from CNA in late 2015 for $108 million. The unusual two-part deal called for CNA to move to a glassy new building under construction at 151 N. Franklin. Designed by John Ronan Architects, the 35-story office tower is expected to welcome tenants next summer.

Once CNA leaves the older building, Buck plans to invest millions renovating the property and improving tenant amenities. The upcoming move to Big Red will not effect the bank’s current headquarters at the historic 1905 building at 50 S. LaSalle Street.