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United Building, also known as 77 West Wacker Drive, is an office building in the Loop, Chicago. Finished in 1992, the building rises to a height of 668 ft (204 m) with around 944,000 square feet (87,700 m2) of interior space. The building, with 51 floors, was designed by Ricardo Bofill. It was formerly known as the RR Donnelley Building when the RR Donnelley printing company was the primary tenant. RR Donnelley moved its corporate headquarters to a different location in May 2005, and in 2007 the building became the corporate headquarters of United Airlines. The deal included naming rights to the building.
This was the world headquarters of Chicago-based United Airlines and its parent company United Continental Holdings It also served as the headquarters for United Continental subsidiary Continental Airlines until its certificate was merged with United on November 30, 2011.
The building has a newsletter called "FOCUS", published by Prime Group Realty Trust.
By 1990, Keck, Mahin & Cate, a then-prominent Chicago-based law firm, considered moving out of its space in the Sears Tower and moving into a potential new development, which would become 77 West Wacker Drive. Brokers who were familiar with the lease negotiations stated that Sears was trying to keep Keck, Mahin & Cate in the building. Keck, Mahin & Cate decided to move into 77 West Wacker, and the Prime Group, developer of 77 West Wacker, finalized the development of the facility. In 1991 RR Donnelley leased 215,000 square feet (20,000 m2) on floors 9 through 19 for its world headquarters, and Kemper Securities leased 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2).
With the lease deals concluded, 77 West Wacker had 86% of its tenant space occupied. Jerry C. Davis of the Chicago Sun-Times said that the remaining space would be too small for some prospective tenants. Davis added that the leases to RR Donnelley and Kemper significantly altered "the complexion of the downtown office market." Keck Mahin & Cate moved from the Sears Tower to 77 W. Wacker in mid-1992; the firm suffered a series of practice group defections and questionable management decisions, and ultimately ceased operation in 1997.
In 2004 RR Donnelley signed a letter of intent to move out of 77 West Wacker. During the same year McGuireWoods extended its lease by 8 years, changing the end date from December 31, 2010 to December 31, 2018. In addition McGuireWoods expanded its leased space, effective February 1, 2004. The company gained an extra 65,756 square feet (6,108.9 m2) of space in addition to its existing 67,819 square feet (6,300.6 m2). As a result of the lease expansion of McGuireWoods, as of February 2004 77 West Wacker was 92.2% leased. In 2004 the lease of the firm Jones Day of 138,764 square feet (12,891.6 m2) in 77 West Wacker was extended by 15 years, with the end date changed from September 30, 2007 to September 30, 2022. In 2006 Microsoft extended the term of its lease and expanded its leased space to 12,391 square feet (1,151.2 m2), with a total of 47,122 square feet (4,377.8 m2) occupied by Microsoft. During the same year Greenberg Traurig agreed to expand its lease by 22,565 square feet (2,096.4 m2), giving it a total of 100,975 square feet (9,380.9 m2).
On August 13, 2012 United Continental Holdings announced its intention to once again relocate its world headquarters. An agreement has been reached for United Continental Holdings to lease an additional 200,000 square feet at Chicago's Willis Tower, joining the airline's operations center which leased an initial 470,000 square feet in 2010. The company will vacate their current offices at 77 W. Wacker with the naming future of the building left unknown.
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Steve Baron, president of Prime Group Realty, said in 1990 that 77 West Wacker had "very compact floors with virtually no columns." Therefore tenant companies would not pay for space that they would be unable to use.
To enhance its panoramic view over the city, the building's skin is predominantly glazed. The facade, of classical proportions, comprises glass surfaces framed in Portuguese white granite, with the dividers between the different floors linked by columns. The top floor is shaped like a temple. The ground floor houses an 18 m high atrium in gray and white marble.
A sculpture by Xavier Corbero called "Three Lawyers and A Judge" graces the building, as does Antoni Tàpies' artwork called "Big Eyelids". Bofill further contributed by creating a sculpture entitled "Twisted Columns" which appears to float above a reflecting pool.
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus lines serving the building include 22, 24, 29, 62, 124, 146 and 151. The closest CTA stations, the Clark and Lake Station and the State and Lake Station, have the Brown, Blue, Green, Orange, and Purple lines. The Metra Electric Line is the closest Metra line.
The building is featured prominently in The Negotiator (1998) where it serves as the location of offices for the Internal Affairs Division of the Chicago Police Department.
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