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Chicago is the third largest city in the U.S. with over 2.8 million people. It is the largest city in the state of Illinois and its location in northeastern Illinois on the southwestern banks of Lake Michigan has allowed Chicago to become a major terminal for waterborne freight with terminals inc Lake Calumet Harbor in the Port of Chicago. Several rivers run through Chicago – the Calumet River in the South Side and the Chicago River in Downtown and the Des Plaines River to the West of Chicago which is connected to the Chicago River by the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Chicago, also known as the “Windy City” or “Chi-Town” is a major global hub for industry and infrastructure and its main airport, O’Hare Airport is the second busiest airport in the world. It is also a major center for business and finance and is considered one of the world’s top ten financial centers.
Chicago’s metropolitan area is informally referred to as “Chicagoland” and although not officially defined, Chicagoland is usually considered to inc. the city of Chicago, the rest of Cook County, three counties of Indiana – “Lake” which is Indiana’s third most highly populated county, “LaPorte” which is 613 square mls (1,588 km²), and “Porter” which has an area of 522 square mls (1,351 km²), and six nearby counties of Illinois – “Kankakee” which was settled in 1834, “Kendall” which is a small but growing county, “McHenry” which was historically a center of recreation and agriculture, “DuPage” which has the highest per-capita income in the Midwest, “Grundy” which is 430 square mls (1,115 km²) and “Kane” which has a total area of 524 square mls (1,357 km²)
Following the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, Chicago experienced the largest commercial real estate development and commercial property construction boom in America’s history and started the skyscraper era with much of this historic property still in use today inc. the Merchandise Mart which stands near the river and the Chicago Board of Trade Building which is located in the Loop. Currently, the tallest Chicago commercial property is Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower, along with the AON Center, formerly known as the Standard Oil Building then the Amoco Building on East Randolph Street, the John Hancock Center on North Michigan Avenue in the Gold Coast area, and Trump International Hotel and Tower, known locally as Trump Tower, which is located on North Wabash Avenue in the River North District. Current commercial real estate projects inc. the Waterview Tower on West Wacker Drive between Clark Street and LaSalle Street the Chicago Spire on North Lake Shore Drive. Other note worthy Chicago commercial property includes The Heritage at Millennium Park on North Garland which offers great views of Millennium Park, Lake Michigan and some parts of Grant Park.
The architecture of Chicago is a mixture of high rise residential and commercial office towers, mid and low-rise property (both domestic and commercial property and real estate) and standard single family homes. These many different Chicago property options, along with the naturally excellent amenities on offer, help make Chicago commercial property a great place for business and many corporate organizations choose Chicago as the location for their headquarters (hq), general office space and commercial real estate / realty. Many different office space options are available in Chicago commercial property which inc. long term traditional leasing, sublet and sublease office agreements and flexible monthly rent agreements in business centers offering executive suites and serviced offices. The long terms of traditional leasing agreements are generally offered for large, rent only open-plan office spaces with no additional corporate services.
Chicago corporate centers that offer executive suites and serviced offices usually offer a directory of additional services inc. broadband internet and phone systems that are run via modern cat 5 cabling by an onsite I.T. or commercial property management team, secretary services and executive reception services inc phone answering and call transfers managed by trained, professional receptionist staff. Most Chicago executive suites and serviced offices are fully furnished inc. executive quality chairs and desks and rental terms are very flexible. Business centers always make provision for security with commercial property security systems inc. cctv and security guards or security key systems. Most offer at least one ad hoc corporate meeting room suite but most business center locations offer multiple meeting suites which can be rented whenever needed. Sizes range from small one workstation offices or cubicle space, to large offices suitable for a corporate headquarters (hq)
Chicago is also great for commerce as it has the third largest gross metropolitan product and 2nd largest CBD (Central Business District) in the United States. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago have their HQ (headquarters) in Chicago and the city also homes three major futures and financial exchanges inc. the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the "Merc"), which includes the former Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and the Chicago Stock Exchange.
Transport systems and services are excellent and another reason why Chicago offices and commercial real estate are so popular. Chicago is usually considered to be split into four main sections and all offer numerous transport options: Downtown (which contains the Loop), South Side, the North Side and the West Side. Chicago is in fact the largest hub of passenger rail service in America with many Amtrak long distance services originating from the city’s Union Station. Amtrak also provide numerous rail transport services throughout Illinois which connect Chicago to nearby Indianapolis (the 14th largest city in the U.S.), Saint Louis (the 16th largest in the U.S.) Milwaukee (the 23rd largest by population in the U.S.) and Detroit (the 11th largest populous in the U.S.).
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates an extensive network of buses throughout the city and a rapid transit subway and elevated transport system known as the 'L' (which is short for "elevated"). The lines of the “L” are designated by colors which consist of the Blue (which operates 24 hour services), Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red (which operates 24 hour services), and Yellow lines. The rapid transit system also serves two of Chicago’s airports, O'Hare Airport and Midway Airport though and the city also has a third airport in the nearby location of Gary, Indiana Gary/Chicago International Airport and Chicago Rockford International Airport, formerly known as Greater Rockford Airport serves commercial airfreight such as mail services. Chicago also has the Metra Electric Line shares the railway system with South Shore Line's NICTD Northern Indiana Commuter Transport District rail service.
Chicago has promoted itself as a major tourist destination and in 2007 attracted circa 44.2 million visitors to major local, regional, national and international events in sport, politics, entertainment, culture and commerce. Many visitors are attracted to the many lakeside parks inc Burnham Park, Grant Park, Jackson Park and Lincoln Park which homes Lincoln Park Zoo. Many of the parks are connected by Lake Shore Drive which runs along the waterfront. Some areas of the lake near the Downtown area have been reclaimed using landfill to create space for commercial and industrial property inc Navy Pier, the 1,010 m long pier which was built in 1916, Museum Campus which is a 230,850 m² lakefront park, Jardine Water Purification Plant which is the largest capacity water filtration plant in the world, Northerly Island which homes the Adler Planetarium, Soldier Field home of the Chicago Bears American football team and the McCormick Place Convention Center.
Along with the popular shopping areas and numerous stores of the Magnificent Mile and State Street, Chicago offers numerous other attractions inc Museum of Science and Industry in Jackson Park, Garfield Park Conservatory which is one of the largest collections of tropical plants in the U.S, the Museum Campus Lakefront Park which surrounds three of Chicago’s main museums: the Field Museum of Natural History and the Shedd Aquarium. The University of Chicago features the Oriental Institute which has an extensive collection of Near Eastern and ancient Egyptian archaeological artifacts which always prove popular along with the Chicago Botanic Garden and Brookfield Zoo. Along with Chicago University, Chicago has several other prestigious education establishments inc Northwestern University located in Downtown Chicago, DePaul University which was founded by the Vincentians in 1898, University of Illinois Chicago which is a state-funded public research university, Loyola University Chicago which was founded in 1870 as St. Ignatius College, and the Illinois Institute of Technology, all of which are ranked amongst some of the top educational institutions in the United States.
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