77 West Wacker Drive
77 West Wacker Drive May 2016 (2).jpg
General information
Construction started1990
Roof668 ft (204 m)
Technical details
Floor count49
Floor area1,039,987 sq ft (96,618.0 m2)
Design and construction
ArchitectRicardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura
DeveloperPrime Group Realty Trust
Structural engineerCohen-Barreto-Marchertas
Main contractorSchal Associates, Inc.

77 West Wacker Drive,[1] previously the United Building, is an American office building in the Loop, Chicago. Finished in 1992, the building rises to a height of 668 ft (204 m) with around 944,000 square feet (87,700 m2) of interior space.[2] The building, with 50 floors, was designed by Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura.[3] It was formerly known as the RR Donnelley Building when RR Donnelley was the primary tenant. RR Donnelley moved its corporate headquarters to a different location in May 2005, and in 2007 the building became the corporate headquarters of United Airlines. The deal included naming rights to the building.[4]

The building was the world headquarters of Chicago-based United Airlines and its parent company, United Continental Holdings.[5] It also served as the headquarters for United Continental subsidiary Continental Airlines until its certificate was merged with United on November 30, 2011.[6] In 2012, United moved its headquarters to the Willis Tower, where the company occupies around 20 floors.[7][8]

Archer Daniels Midland moved its headquarters to the building in August 2014 from Decatur, Illinois.[9] The building has a newsletter called "FOCUS", published by Prime Group Realty Trust.[10]


By 1990, Keck, Mahin & Cate, a then-prominent Chicago-based law firm, considered moving out of its space in the Sears Tower and moving into a potential new development, which would become 77 West Wacker Drive. Brokers who were familiar with the lease negotiations stated that Sears was trying to keep Keck, Mahin & Cate in the building. Keck, Mahin & Cate decided to move into 77 West Wacker, and the Prime Group, developer of 77 West Wacker, finalized the development of the facility.[11] In 1991, RR Donnelley leased 215,000 square feet (20,000 m2) on floors 9 through 19 for its world headquarters,[12] and Kemper Securities leased 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2).

With the lease deals concluded, 77 West Wacker had 86% of its tenant space occupied. Jerry C. Davis of the Chicago Sun-Times said that the remaining space would be too small for some prospective tenants. Davis added that the leases to RR Donnelley and Kemper significantly altered "the complexion of the downtown office market."[13] Keck Mahin & Cate moved from the Sears Tower to 77 W. Wacker in mid-1992; the firm suffered a series of practice group defections and questionable management decisions, and ultimately ceased operation in 1997.

In 2004, RR Donnelley signed a letter of intent to move out of 77 West Wacker.[14] During the same year, McGuireWoods extended its lease by 8 years, changing the end date from December 31, 2010 to December 31, 2018. In addition, McGuireWoods expanded its leased space, effective February 1, 2004. The company gained an extra 65,756 square feet (6,108.9 m2) of space in addition to its existing 67,819 square feet (6,300.6 m2). As a result of the lease expansion of McGuireWoods, as of February 2004, 77 West Wacker was 92.2% leased.[15] In 2004, the lease of the firm Jones Day of 138,764 square feet (12,891.6 m2) in 77 West Wacker was extended by 15 years, with the end date changed from September 30, 2007 to September 30, 2022.[2] In 2006, Microsoft extended the term of its lease and expanded its leased space to 12,391 square feet (1,151.2 m2), with a total of 47,122 square feet (4,377.8 m2) occupied by Microsoft. During the same year, Greenberg Traurig agreed to expand its lease by 22,565 square feet (2,096.4 m2), giving it a total of 100,975 square feet (9,380.9 m2).[3]

In 2006, United Airlines agreed to move its 350 executives and some staff members from its Elk Grove Township campus to 77 West Wacker.[16]

On August 13, 2012, United Continental Holdings announced its intention to once again relocate its world headquarters. An agreement was reached for United Continental Holdings to lease an additional 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) at Chicago's Willis Tower, joining the airline's operations center which leased an initial 470,000 square feet (44,000 m2) in 2010. The company vacated the majority of their offices at 77 W. Wacker with the naming future of the building left unknown.[17]


77 West Wacker is shown in context between the Leo Burnett Building and the partially constructed Waterview Tower.
77 West Wacker is shown in context between the Leo Burnett Building and the partially constructed Waterview Tower.
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

77 W. Wacker is one of the most prominent examples of postmodern architecture in the city of Chicago.[18] The facade consists of glass surfaces framed in Portuguese white granite, with the dividers between the different floors linked by columns. The top floor is shaped like a Greek pediment. The ground floor houses a 59-foot-high (18 m) atrium in gray and white marble.[citation needed] To enhance its panoramic view over the city, the building's skin is predominantly glazed.

The interior is similarly styled. The classical Greek style is repeated inside, with Thassos marble walls and a 40 ft (12 m) tall coffered ceiling made of white oak wood.[citation needed]

A sculpture by Xavier Corberó called "Three Lawyers and A Judge" graces the building, as does Antoni Tàpies' artwork called "Big Eyelids". Bofill further contributed by creating a sculpture entitled "Twisted Columns" which appears to float above a reflecting pool.[citation needed] At night, 540 lamps light the building and its surroundings, along with a United sign that was added to the building in 2008.[citation needed]

Steve Baron, president of Prime Group Realty, said in 1990 that 77 West Wacker had "very compact floors with virtually no columns." Therefore, tenant companies would not pay for space that they would be unable to use.[11]


Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus lines serving the building include 22, 24, 29, 62, 124, 146 and 151. The closest Chicago 'L' stations are Clark/Lake, serving the Orange, Green, Blue, Purple, Pink and Brown Lines, and the State/Lake station, which serves the Orange, Green, Purple, Pink and Brown Lines, with a connection to the Red Line at Lake. The Metra Electric Line is the closest Metra line.[19]

Position in skyline

In this lakefront view 77 West Wacker is located between Buckingham Fountain and the Pittsfield Building.

311 South WackerWillis TowerChicago Board of Trade Building111 South WackerAT&T Corporate CenterKluczynski Federal Building333 South WabashChase TowerThree First National PlazaMid-Continental PlazaRichard J. Daley CenterChicago Title and Trust Center77 West WackerPittsfield BuildingLeo Burnett BuildingThe Heritage at Millennium ParkCrain Communications BuildingIBM PlazaOne Prudential PlazaTwo Prudential PlazaAon CenterBlue Cross and Blue Shield Tower340 on the ParkPark TowerOlympia Centre900 North Michigan875 North Michigan AvenueWater Tower PlaceHarbor PointThe ParkshoreNorth Pier ApartmentsLake Point TowerJay Pritzker PavilionBuckingham FountainLake MichiganLake MichiganLake MichiganThe skyline of a city with many large skyscrapers; in the foreground is a green park and a lake with many sailboats moored on it. Over 30 of the skyscrapers and some park features are labeled.

In popular culture

The building is featured prominently in The Negotiator (1998) where it serves as the location of offices for the Internal Affairs Division of the Chicago Police Department.

The building was seen in the Bollywood movie Dhoom 3.

See also


  1. ^ "United Building". Tenant Information. Building Management. Archived from the original on 2010-02-06. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
  2. ^ a b "Prime Group Realty Trust Extends Major Tenant Lease At 77 West Wacker Drive." Business Wire. March 10, 2004. Retrieved on November 11, 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Prime Group Realty Trust Announces Two Lease Transactions at 77 West Wacker Drive." Business Wire. October 19, 2006. Retrieved on November 12, 2009.
  4. ^ Ori, Ryan (March 7, 2012). "United Airlines parent mulls HQ move to Willis Tower". Crain Communications.
  5. ^ "Board of Directors Archived 2011-01-28 at the Wayback Machine." United Continental Holdings. Retrieved on October 3, 2010.
  6. ^ "Headquarters Location Archived 2012-03-01 at the Wayback Machine." Continental Airlines. Retrieved on October 11, 2011. "Physical Address 77 W. Wacker Drive Chicago, Illinois 60601 United States"
  7. ^ "United Airlines moving headquarters to Willis Tower". News-Gazette.com. Associated Press. Archived from the original on August 15, 2012.
  8. ^ Snyder, Brett (December 16, 2013). "A Day with United Management: Elite Status, Mileage Devaluation, and Increasing Change Fees". The Cranky Flier.
  9. ^ Karp, Gregory (August 26, 2014). "ADM opens its Chicago headquarters". Chicago Tribune.
  10. ^ "FOCUS Fall 2008 Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine." Prime Group Realty Trust. Retrieved on October 27, 2009.
  11. ^ a b " 77 W. Wacker ready to go." Chicago Sun-Times. March 12, 1990. Retrieved on November 12, 2009.
  12. ^ Kerch, Steve. "Prime scores big with 77 W. Wacker deals." Chicago Tribune. August 4, 1991. 2A. Retrieved on November 12, 2009.
  13. ^ Davis, Jerry C. "77 W. Wacker's filling up and causing ripples." Chicago Sun-Times. August 19, 1991. Page 39. Retrieved on November 12, 2009.
  14. ^ "Printer R.R. Donnelley & Sons leans to move away from Chicago River." Chicago Tribune. November 17, 2004. Retrieved on November 12, 2009.
  15. ^ "Prime Group Realty Trust Executes Additional Leasing at 77 West Wacker Drive." Business Wire. February 24, 2004. Retrieved on November 12, 2009.
  16. ^ "Chicago touchdown nearing for United: Deal would put airline in ex-Donnelley site." Chicago Tribune. July 14, 2006. Retrieved on November 12, 2009.
  17. ^ "United Airlines moving its headquarters to the Willis Tower". Chicago Tribune. August 13, 2012.
  18. ^ "77 West Wacker Drive". January 2019.
  19. ^ "Transportation Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine." 77 West Wacker Drive. Retrieved on May 19, 2009.

Coordinates: 41°53′11.40″N 87°37′49.90″W / 41.8865000°N 87.6305278°W / 41.8865000; -87.6305278