Case Study

The Big Ten Conference

Nonprofits and Associations

Savills Helps the Big Ten Conference Build New $20 Million Headquarters

CHALLENGE

The Big Ten Conference, the oldest Division I collegiate conference in the United States, had operated in the same headquarters location for 20 years. Seeking to support operational expansion and evolving brand identity, the Big Ten engaged Savills to guide them through a strategic planning process. The Big Ten's top priority was to enhance the experience of everyone interacting with their operation: players, coaches, university executives, athletic officials, alumni and fans. 

SITUATION

After thoroughly vetting viable real estate scenarios — including expansion of the Big Ten’s existing building, leasing space in nearby office buildings and acquiring existing standalone buildings — the team determined that developing a new custom headquarters facility was the best way for the Big Ten to meet their objectives.

From site selection and land acquisition through planning and construction, the undertaking was an exceptional one. The project required extensive negotiation and planning by the Savills team to coordinate the project's many facets simultaneously while addressing material and logistical complexities, time restraints and financial parameters.

Following negotiations with the Village of Rosemont, the Big Ten decided to build their new headquarters at MB Financial Park. They secured a prime corner property in the park and the right to display a highly visible 2,000 square-foot sign along the very busy I-294 expressway. Negotiations also brought Fogo de Chao steakhouse to the building's first floor, making the property even more attractive to visitors and area residents.

In addition to managing collaboration among a high number of stakeholders, Savills coordinated a “fast track” construction process to avoid the worst of the Chicago winter. The entire facility, including the Big Ten Experience museum, was completed in just over a year. Given the project's complexity and the number of constituents involved, proactive facilitation and the highest level of collaboration were the lynchpins of project success.

RESULTS

The result was a new 50,000 square-foot, $20 million headquarters – twice the size of the Big Ten’s previous location.

The new location enhances the experience of those interacting with the conference while greatly improving accessibility for visitors, employees and the conference’s nearly 5 million alumni. The museum, which showcases the history and highlights of the conference, increases traffic to surrounding Rosemont restaurants and businesses. The ultra-modern building comfortably accommodates the Big Ten’s operations with ample room for future growth. 

This unique, built-to-suit development is a testament to the power of collaboration: not only did Savills facilitate stakeholder cooperation through a challenging construction project, but through regular communication with the Village of Rosemont and others, the team ensured that the Big Ten’s development would benefit the local community while also addressing the client's needs.