United Airlines Moving HQ to Chicago's Willis Tower

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Equities Realty on Monday announced a deal to keep United Airlines headquartered in downtown Chicago through 2028.

Emanuel boasted that United "signed one of the largest office leases" in city history to move its headquarters into Willis Tower.

"The fact that United has brought its company under one roof and extended their commitment to downtown is great news for all Chicagoans," Emanuel said in a statement. 

The new deal adds another 205,000 square feet to the company's workspace, bringing United a total of 830,000 square feet. When the move is completed, United will occupy 16 floors and roughly 20 percent of the building. It also will have more than 4,000 employees working downtown Chicago and 14,000-plus total in the city, including at O'Hare International Airport.

“Willis Tower provides a dynamic work environment for our employees," said United EVP Brett Hart in a statement. "This is an important step as we continue to work together to build the world’s leading airline."

United started its move from Elk Grove Village in 2007, Emanuel said. In 2010 it leased 470,000 square feet and in 2011 increased the space to 625,000 square feet.

"This deal shows United's commitment to Chicago for a generation; it ensures our hometown airline will be here, and means that quality jobs and economic activity will remain in the area for years to come," Emanuel said.

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