April 23, 2014
Yesterday, Motorola Mobility unveiled its new headquarters in the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago. Occupying four floors of the Mart, the 600,000-square-foot Gensler-designed space will house the company’s 2,000 employees.
Talking about Chicago as a hub for digital and cellular technology, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “Given its roots, this should have been the place.”
The move marks a homecoming of sorts for the handset maker. It was founded 80 years ago in Chicago, and stood at the forefront of the telecommunications industry, even creating the first hand-held cell phone in 1973. For the last 38 years, Motorola Mobility has been based in Libertyville.
Motorola Mobility’s move downtown was initiated back in 2012 when Google bought the company for more than $12.5 billion – just a year after Motorola split into Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility; now, Google is actually in the process of selling Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. As The Chicago Tribune reported:
“There was ‘discussion among a handful of us that were hired and working on the plan before we (Google) took over,’ said Scott Sullivan, the senior vice president of ‘people operations’ at Motorola Mobility. ‘We were literally in the corner of a small building on the Google campus … analyzing lots of data and information and working on what would be the plan moving forward to transform the company.'”
With this move, Motorola Mobility officially becomes a neighbor to Chicago’s 1871, which occupies 50,000 square feet on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart. And much like 1871 (and apropos of Google’s ethos), the new HQ features open spaces, digital and graffiti art, anechoic chambers, a video game room, and even a rooftop deck. Hopefully, Lenova doesn’t have any future plans to alter this paradise.
All photos courtesy of Nicholas James / Curbed Chicago. To check out a full gallery of the space (with many more pictures), visit this post on Curbed Chicago.
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