Uber opens new workplace in Outdated Put up Workplace, making Chicago the middle of development plans for its surging freight enterprise

Delayed and downsized by the pandemic, Uber opened its sprawling new workplace house on the redeveloped Outdated Put up Workplace, which is able to function the headquarters for its Uber Freight enterprise and Chicago operations.

Uber's Lior Ron, head of Uber Freight, at the grand opening of the company's new Chicago office on Oct. 19, 2021.

© Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune
Uber’s Lior Ron, head of Uber Freight, on the grand opening of the corporate’s new Chicago workplace on Oct. 19, 2021.

The San Francisco-based ride-share firm minimize the ribbon on its ninth-floor workplace Tuesday, with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and different high executives touting a brand new dwelling and expansive future in Chicago.

“Uber Freight is now one of many world’s largest digitally-enabled provider networks with huge potential, and there’s no higher place to develop this platform than right here in Chicago,” Khosrowshahi stated.

The Outdated Put up Workplace would be the world headquarters for Uber Freight, its fast-growing logistics division launched in 2017 to attach truck drivers with shippers. The house can even home gross sales, authorized, advertising and marketing and different employees for the Uber Eats and ride-sharing operations in Chicago.

People attend Uber's new Chicago office opening on Oct. 19, 2021.

© Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune
Individuals attend Uber’s new Chicago workplace opening on Oct. 19, 2021.

Chicago’s redeveloped Outdated Put up Workplace, which has attracted a rising listing of know-how firms, is now the second largest workplace location for Uber, each by way of house and staffing, behind its company headquarters, the corporate stated.

Uber is the biggest tenant within the repurposed constructing, however preliminary plans known as for it to be even greater.

In 2019, Uber introduced it had signed a 10-year lease for 463,000 sq. ft, with plans to consolidate its Chicago operations and triple its workforce to about 3,000 workers over three years. It has since scaled again its footprint and hiring plans by a couple of third.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi at the grand opening of its new Chicago office in the renovated Old Post Office.

© Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on the grand opening of its new Chicago workplace within the renovated Outdated Put up Workplace.

Uber now has about 1,500 Chicago workplace employees, with about half employed by Uber Freight, the corporate stated. It plans to broaden to greater than 2,000 workers in Chicago.


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“We’re in full hiring mode,” Lior Ron, head of Uber Freight, stated Tuesday.

Uber is occupying about 310,000 sq. ft on the Outdated Put up Workplace, together with the whole ninth ground, elements of the eighth ground and a personal rooftop deck. The corporate is subleasing about 150,000 sq. ft of its unique house to different tenants on the eighth ground.

The brand new workplace includes a full-service kitchen, government suite, grand corridor, gender impartial restrooms, library areas and different facilities. The roof contains occasion house and sports activities courts. However the largest characteristic is solely the sheer dimension of the contiguous workplace.

“The ground plan permits us to truly have the whole crew collaborate collectively on one ground,” Ron stated. “It’s basically like 4 soccer fields linked or like a skyscraper principally tilted on its again.”

Ron stated the workplace will initially be open on a voluntary foundation for Chicago workers, lots of whom proceed to work remotely. Uber is anticipating most workers to be again within the workplace by the “starting of subsequent yr,” he stated.

Uber had practically 23,000 workers in 71 international locations on the finish of 2020, in line with the corporate’s annual report. In Might 2020, Uber introduced companywide reductions of 6,700 full-time workers as revenues declined in the course of the pandemic.

Uber's new Chicago office on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. The space inside the Old Post Office will serve as the global headquarters for Uber Freight and house more than 2,000 employees across the Freight, Eats and Rides platforms.

© Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune
Uber’s new Chicago workplace on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. The house contained in the Outdated Put up Workplace will function the worldwide headquarters for Uber Freight and home greater than 2,000 workers throughout the Freight, Eats and Rides platforms.

Uber Freight, nonetheless, has been a development engine. The platform has greater than 1 million truck drivers hauling freight for about 9,000 shippers together with Anheuser-Busch InBev, Niagara, Ocean Spray, Land O’Lakes and Nestle.

In 2020, Uber Freight generated $1 billion in income, in line with monetary statements, and has accelerated to a fee that may produce $1.7 billion in annual income, Ron stated.

“From a enterprise perspective, Uber Freight has a whole lot of momentum,” Ron stated. “We began from nothing simply 4 years in the past.”

Ron stated the power to “faucet into the colleges” and Chicago’s expertise pool has enabled the enterprise to recruit and ramp up logistics professionals shortly. The opening of a brand new know-how hub on the Outdated Put up Workplace can have “dozens of engineers” working alongside the operations employees, he stated.

One other increase for the Chicago operation would be the $2.25 billion acquisition of Texas-based logistics agency Transplace, which was introduced in July however has but to shut.

Whereas Uber Freight has been rising, the core ride-sharing enterprise has had a bumpy street in the course of the pandemic, with declining revenues, skyrocketing charges and a scarcity of drivers, a minimum of in Chicago.

In April, Uber introduced a $250 million incentive package deal to recruit drivers in Chicago, briefly boosting the hourly fee for these working a minimum of 20 hours per week by practically $5 to greater than $33 per hour. This system stays in place, the corporate stated Tuesday.

Uber noticed a 9% improve within the variety of energetic drivers in Chicago throughout September, with about 30,000 now plying metropolis streets, the corporate stated.

Uber revenues declined 14% to $11.1 billion in 2020, led downward by its ride-sharing enterprise. However each the freight and supply enterprise — Uber Eats — gained traction and proceed to develop this yr, whereas ride-sharing has been recovering.

The corporate, which has misplaced cash because it was launched greater than a decade in the past, stated in a Securities and Alternate Fee submitting final month that it might make an adjusted revenue of as much as $25 million within the third quarter. Uber is ready to report outcomes Nov. 4.

Uber’s transfer into the Outdated Put up Workplace offers an anchor tenant of types and represents a major second within the conversion of the long-vacant constructing into fashionable places of work, one of the bold Chicago redevelopment tasks in latest historical past.

Accomplished in 1921 and tremendously expanded in 1932, the large put up workplace has lengthy loomed over the Eisenhower Expressway as a gateway to downtown Chicago. After sitting vacant for practically 20 years, New York developer 601W Cos. purchased the constructing in 2016 and undertook an $800 million renovation, creating 2.5 million sq. ft of workplace and occasion house.

The Outdated Put up Workplace reopened in fall 2019 and has attracted tenants comparable to Walgreens, PepsiCo, Ferrara Sweet, Cisco Techniques and CoinFlip.

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