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McDonald’s New Corporate Headquarters Joins the 'Cool Kids' in Chicago's Trendy Fulton Market

Work Neighborhoods, IT Tech Bar and High-Tech Flagship Restaurant All Housed in Fast-Food Chain's New West Loop Digs
June 5, 2018

Pictured: McDonald's Corp.'s new headquarters at 1045 W. Randolph St. in Chicago.

McDonald’s Corp. moved "home" Monday, relocating back to downtown Chicago in a state-of-the art headquarters that aims to define a fresh corporate direction for the fast-food giant after nearly 46 years in its Oak Brook location, a rolling bucolic campus in the western suburbs.

"It’s good to be home," McDonald’s Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook told a crowd outside the new $250 million office-and-restaurant project developed by Sterling Bay at 1045 W. Randolph St. in the city’s trendy Fulton Market district in the West Loop.

Designed by Gensler, the 490,000-square-foot building sits on the site that once produced Oprah Winfrey’s Chicago-based show, but the two-floor television studio was leveled to make way for the gleaming nine-story, high-tech office space located among some of the hottest nightlife and restaurant scenes in the city.

That, Easterbrook repeated Monday, is part of the Golden Arches’ master plan to attract top talent, and underscores his drive to bring innovation to the 63-year-old global grandfather of fast-food restaurants.

McDonald's HQ Carpenter St. entrance.
Photo Credit: McDonald's

Some 2,000 employees will find themselves in what McDonald’s calls "work neighborhoods" of open-floor plans dotted with huddle rooms, communal tables, workstations, private phone rooms and personal lockers. Several outdoor terraces, a high-ceiling sixth-floor working café with stadium seating and an Apple-like "IT Tech bar," and a ninth-floor fitness room are also intended to foster better collaboration among employees. The famed Hamburger University sits on the second floor.

The dramatic three-story entrance is a far cry from the Oak Brook offices’ entry. The ground floor also houses the much talked-about, one-of-a-kind McDonald’s restaurant that features a rotating menu of global favorites as well as classic menu items. The restaurant is also a demonstration in how technology is driving consumer experiences in all stores, with self-order kiosks, table service, mobile order and payment, and even McDelivery with Uber Eats.

The ubiquitous burger chain hopes to create a Starbucks-like environment where consumers linger for hours in what Easterbrook described in a CBNC interview as a "much fresher, warmer environment" that could help drive sales.

"When people dwell more they tend to select more," he said. The company is revamping about 1,000 restaurants per quarter - or 10 day - nationwide. The general contractors in Chicago were McHugh Construction and Executive Construction.

Jennifer Waters, Chicago Reporter  CoStar Group   
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