Uber opens new workplace in Previous Submit Workplace, making Chicago the middle of progress plans for its surging freight enterprise

Delayed and downsized by the pandemic, Uber opened its sprawling new workplace area on the redeveloped Previous Submit Workplace, which can 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 lower the ribbon on its ninth-floor workplace Tuesday, with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and different prime executives touting a brand new residence and expansive future in Chicago.

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

The Previous Submit Workplace would be the international headquarters for Uber Freight, its fast-growing logistics division launched in 2017 to attach truck drivers with shippers. The area will 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 Previous Submit Workplace, which has attracted a rising record of know-how corporations, is now the second largest workplace location for Uber, each when it comes to area and staffing, behind its company headquarters, the corporate mentioned.

Uber is the most important tenant within the repurposed constructing, however preliminary plans referred to 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 staff over three years. It has since scaled again its footprint and hiring plans by a few 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 Previous Submit Workplace.

Uber now has about 1,500 Chicago workplace staff, with about half employed by Uber Freight, the corporate mentioned. It plans to develop to greater than 2,000 staff in Chicago.

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

Uber is occupying about 310,000 sq. ft on the Previous Submit Workplace, together with all the ninth flooring, components of the eighth flooring and a non-public rooftop deck. The corporate is subleasing about 150,000 sq. ft of its authentic area to different tenants on the eighth flooring.

The brand new workplace contains a full-service kitchen, government suite, grand corridor, gender impartial restrooms, library areas and different facilities. The roof consists of occasion area and sports activities courts. However the greatest function is solely the sheer measurement of the contiguous workplace.

“The ground plan permits us to truly have all the group collaborate collectively on one flooring,” Ron mentioned. “It’s primarily like 4 soccer fields linked or like a skyscraper principally tilted on its again.”

Ron mentioned the workplace will initially be open on a voluntary foundation for Chicago staff, lots of whom proceed to work remotely. Uber is anticipating most staff to be again within the workplace by the “starting of subsequent 12 months,” he mentioned.

Uber had almost 23,000 staff in 71 nations on the finish of 2020, in response to the corporate’s annual report. In Could 2020, Uber introduced companywide reductions of 6,700 full-time staff 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 area contained in the Previous Submit Workplace will function the worldwide headquarters for Uber Freight and home greater than 2,000 staff throughout the Freight, Eats and Rides platforms.

Uber Freight, nevertheless, has been a progress 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 response to monetary statements, and has accelerated to a fee that will produce $1.7 billion in annual income, Ron mentioned.

“From a enterprise perspective, Uber Freight has numerous momentum,” Ron mentioned. “We began from nothing simply 4 years in the past.”

Ron mentioned the flexibility 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 Previous Submit Workplace can have “dozens of engineers” working alongside the operations employees, he mentioned.

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 highway in the course of the pandemic, with declining revenues, skyrocketing charges and a scarcity of drivers, no less than 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 no less than 20 hours every week by almost $5 to greater than $33 per hour. This system stays in place, the corporate mentioned Tuesday.

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

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 12 months, whereas ride-sharing has been recovering.

The corporate, which has misplaced cash because it was launched greater than a decade in the past, mentioned in a Securities and Trade Fee submitting final month that it may 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 Previous Submit Workplace offers an anchor tenant of kinds and represents a big second within the conversion of the long-vacant constructing into trendy places of work, one of the crucial formidable Chicago redevelopment tasks in current historical past.

Accomplished in 1921 and significantly expanded in 1932, the huge publish workplace has lengthy loomed over the Eisenhower Expressway as a gateway to downtown Chicago. After sitting vacant for almost twenty 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 area.

The Previous Submit Workplace reopened in fall 2019 and has attracted tenants reminiscent of Walgreens, PepsiCo, Ferrara Sweet, Cisco Techniques and CoinFlip.

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