McDonald's new headquarters gives the environment a break

At the new McDonald’s Corp. headquarters in Chicago’s vibrant West Loop, employees in the LEED-certifiable building work in cafe-style spaces among reminders of the company's historic past.

Built on the former grounds of Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios, the nine-floor, 490,000-square-foot offices houses test kitchen and the flagship Hamburger University location.

All waste produced in the test kitchens will be composted, and the building also features a green roof, the company announced in a press release.

The move marks a return from Oak Brook to Chicago where the company was headquartered from 1955 to 1971. Approximately 2,000 people will be based there.

Click on the photos in the gallery below.

“Our move back home to Chicago is about more than a building – it’s symbolic of our journey to transform our brand and become more closely connected with our customers,” said McDonald's President and CEO Steve Easterbrook. "Our new location enables us to listen better, learn and engage with our customers while providing a modern, worker-friendly headquarters that fosters collaboration and re-energizes employees. We are thrilled to join the West Loop and add to the vitality of this community.”

Designed to maximize employee collaboration, the new headquarters features:

  • “Work neighborhoods” with open floor plans that give employees the flexibility to pick the environment which best fits their needs any time of day and serve as a home base for departments. Neighborhoods include huddle rooms, communal tables, workstations, private phone rooms and personal lockers.
  • A 700-person conference center equipped with the latest technology, allowing for connectivity on a global scale.
  • A Work Café on the sixth floor is the ultimate collaboration space for employees with stadium seating. It is designed to represent the colorful tube/tunnels in a PlayPlace, offers a McCafé serving barista-style coffee and Canadian pastries, and a tech bar for employees' technological needs.
  • Several outdoor terrace spaces and a ninth-floor fitness center with picturesque views of Chicago.

Throughout the building are nods to McDonald’s heritage including museum-quality displays of Happy Meal toys, vintage memorabilia and a tribute wall to McDonald’s groundbreaking leaders, inventors and owner-operators.

The ground floor is home to a one-of-a-kind McDonald’s restaurant that features a rotating menu of favorites from around the globe – as well as classic menu items – connecting McDonald’s international reach to Chicago. This Experience of the Future (EOTF) restaurant illustrates the company’s commitment to transforming the customer experience with self-order kiosks, table service, enhanced hospitality, mobile order and payment and McDelivery with Uber Eats.

Sterling Bay developed the building; Gensler served as the architect of record; IA Interior Architects and Studio O+A designed interiors; and the general contractors were McHugh & ECI Executive Construction Inc. McDonald's office space, including Hamburger University, will occupy 490,000 square feet of the building.



Topics: Architectural Firms, Certifications, Energy Saving Products, Interiors, Mixed Use Communities/Developments & Buildings, Office Buildings, Restaurants



Gary Wollenhaupt

Gary Wollenhaupt is an experienced writer and editor, with a background as a daily newspaper reporter as well as corporate and agency public relations and marketing. He is constantly looking for affordable green upgrades to make to his home in eastern Kentucky.

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