Essential Workers Complain Of 93 Degree Temperatures Inside Iconic LaSalle Building

Lawyers claim landlord shut off A/C during the pandemic without notifying them

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Attorney Michael Bartolic spends most days wiping beads of sweat off his face while he sits at his desk on the 14th floor of the iconic 208 South LaSalle Street building.

The building is also home to the JW Marriott Hotel, which is not affected.

Bartolic even ditched the suit and tie for shorts and a t-shirt as temperatures inside his office reach 93 degrees in the middle of a July day.

“When everybody started making their way back in, we realized there’s no air conditioning,” Bartolic said. “We’ve tried to just lower the shades everywhere we can. We even have lights dim just to keep it as cool as we can.”

After Bartolic and other tenants complained, he says MB Real Estate, who manages the property, offered two portable cooling units. When NBC 5 visited the office this week the units were set at 70 degrees but the thermostat still had a reading of 91 degrees.

“We’ve asked a number of times what’s going on and there just wasn’t disclosure from the owner or property manager,” Bartolic said.

Tenants suspect the HVAC system was turned off for a remodeling project on the upper floors during the pandemic.

As of Thursday afternoon, MB Real Estate had yet to return NBC 5's request for comment on that matter.

A copy of Bartolic’s lease shows A/C is a basic service, but at the landlord’s judgement under normal business operations.

Chicago building code only requires cooling equipment for nursing homes.

Bartolic said that because he’s an essential worker, his staff is unable to work from home.

“There’s dozens of people that are depending on us physically being here so that they can make their rent and mortgage,” Bartolic said.

Bartolic adds, he is still paying full rent each month.

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