Evanston leaders praise safety science company UL’s new headquarters amid downtown office struggles Evanston leaders praise UL’s new headquarters

Evanston leaders praise safety science company UL’s new headquarters amid downtown office struggles Evanston leaders praise UL’s new headquarters

Two UL safety testing organizations welcomed about 200 workers to their new headquarters in downtown Evanston this month, as the city’s central business district continues to experience rising office vacancies.

Leaders from UL research institutes UL Standards & Engagement celebrated the move from a suburban office complex in Northbrook at a special reception Tuesday attended by Mayor Daniel Pace and council members.

“It is transformative for the economy of downtown Evanston as we continue to understand what a successful post-coronavirus balance looks like in this community,” Pace told dozens of attendees, most of them UL officials and city employees.

UL Research Institutes study technology and public safety, while UL Standards & Engagement sets product safety requirements. The two companies now occupy the top four floors Orrington Plaza Tower in the city centre.

Collaborative meeting spaces, an open café, and sweeping views of Lake Michigan highlight their new headquarters. UL officials credited downtown Evanston’s transportation, retail and dining connections as key reasons it chose the city for its new headquarters.

“A lot of those pointed to Evanston, which has better rates than downtown Chicago but is still attractive to the people we want to bring in and work for us because we’re still growing,” Christopher Kramer said. Senior Vice President of UL Research Institutes.

Business districts across the United States continue to see the impact of working from home, with city officials taking notice Warning that office vacancy rate may balloon Its current value is just over 12%. UL has a hybrid work schedule, requiring its employees to report to the new headquarters in Evanston only a few days a week.

“Are we in a permanent state of working from home? “I think the answer is yes,” said Paul Zalmezak, Evanston’s economic development director. “We are sorting things out with regard to the workers in the Evanston office. What we see now is probably what we get.”

Zalmezak added that UL’s new headquarters could be a “stabilizing force” downtown as properties are modernized and their office spaces are converted, sometimes to other uses.

Several UL officials said they have already explored cafes and businesses downtown.

“This is a huge shot in the arm for downtown Evanston,” City Manager Luke Stowe said He said. “This will be a huge boost to our local businesses, especially our restaurants.”

Officials from both companies said they look forward to working with local organizations and benefiting the city. UL will also provide credit for employees who volunteer in Evanston, said John Canfield, chief research officer.

“I see community members committed and passionate about what comes next,” Charlotte Farmer said. Chief Operating Officer at UL Research Institutes. “They’re visionaries. The programs I observe help community members live out the vision. You don’t always see that in the community. That’s what’s exciting about Evanston.”

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