Sign up for a free Courant newsletter for a chance to win $100 P.C. Richard gift card

Amita Health seeks to move headquarters, 1,100 employees to Lisle

Hospital system Amita Health is hoping to move nearly 1,100 employees to a new headquarters in Lisle, in what could be a boon for that village.

The hospital system is negotiating with Navistar to move into 225,000 square feet on the Navistar campus. Amita hopes to consolidate corporate employees into the Lisle office, John Musgjerd, a Jones Lang LaSalle managing director representing Navistar, told Lisle's board of trustees during a village meeting earlier this week.

Employees would move from Bolingbrook, Arlington Heights, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates and other suburban locations, he said. The lease with Navistar would last 10 years.

Amita also announced plans this week to add 10 Presence Health hospitals to its system as part of a deal in which national hospital system Ascension will acquire Catholic hospital system Presence. Amita is a joint operating company formed by Adventist Midwest Health and Ascension's Alexian Brothers Health System in 2015.

In all, Amita will have 19 hospitals in the Chicago area, if the deal is approved by regulators and the Roman Catholic Church.

In a Thursday statement, Amita said the decision to consolidate its suburban offices into a single location is independent of the Presence deal. Amita said it did not have a signed lease as of Thursday and "continues to explore potential options to achieve the strategic goal of establishing a headquarters office that allows us to better consolidate operations."

Lisle Trustee Anthony Carballo called the tentative headquarters move a "very good opportunity" for Lisle at the village's board meeting Monday, a video of which is posted online.

"It's going to bring a lot of people working in the community that are going to spend money in the community, so to me it seems like a big win for the village, and it does obviously benefit Navistar," Carballo said.

Navistar, which makes commercial trucks, buses and defense vehicles, has been seeking tenants to lease as much as half of its 1.2 million-square-foot headquarters campus after decreasing its employee count significantly in recent years.

Navistar's campus includes nine buildings along Naperville and Warrenville roads in the western suburb, just north of Interstate 88.

Navistar spokeswoman Lyndi McMillan said Thursday that the Amita deal is still in negotiations but added, "We're excited to bring jobs to the community and to fully utilize our campus."

In July, a smaller tenant — transportation firm National Express — moved into space it is leasing from Navistar, McMillan said. Navistar has about 2,000 employees on the Lisle campus, down from about 3,000 when the company moved there in early 2012, McMillan said.

The proposed deal with Amita came before the board because Navistar needs village approval to add 176 parking spaces to the property to satisfy Amita. Musgjerd told the board approval was needed by Aug. 31. A lease is expected to be signed by the end of the month.

A majority of the board voted to prepare an ordinance to approve the new parking as a minor change.

The tentative lease was first reported by Crain's Chicago Business.

If Amita's deal is completed, it will provide a much-needed boost to the far west suburban office market, where there are nine blocks of more than 100,000 square feet available for sale or lease, according to Chicago-based brokerage Blackacre Advisors.

Lisle and suburbs to its west have many big, single-tenant campuses that have become difficult to reuse as companies have been acquired, reduced their workforce or moved workers downtown.

Large vacancies include the former OfficeMax headquarters and Conagra Foods' former suburban offices, both in Naperville, and the former Navistar headquarters building in Warrenville.

"This whole western part of the market has been overshadowed by these large blocks of space," said office broker Don Wenig, a Blackacre principal who is not involved in the Amita deal. "Slowly but surely, these blocks are being chipped away. The challenge remains that there aren't too many major tenants looking in this part of the market."

lschencker@chicagotribune.com

rori@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @lschencker

Twitter @Ryan_Ori

Copyright © 2017, CT Now
34°