Equity Office Welcomes Benchprep and Meltwater to Willis Tower

February 27, 2018

CHICAGO, IL – February 27, 2018: Equity Office, the U.S. office portfolio company wholly-owned by Blackstone’s real estate funds, announced today that BenchPrep, a comprehensive online learning platform, and Meltwater, a global intelligence company providing media monitoring to help companies grow and build their brands, will lease office space at Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower.

BenchPrep, founded by CEO Ashish Rangnekar and COO Ujjwal Gupta, is an e-learning innovator that accelerates success by putting the learning experience first. By streamlining content management, educator tools, dashboards, reporting and e-commerce into one easy-to-use, enterprise SaaS solution, BenchPrep has helped more than 3 million learners achieve professional and academic success. Leaders in the world of learning and professional development, including ACT, HR Certification Institute, CompTIA and CFA Institute, leverage BenchPrep’s technology to power their digital learning programs. BenchPrep will occupy more than 15,000 square feet on the 57th floor. 

“Expanding BenchPrep's presence and moving our headquarters was a logical and necessary step as part of our business growth strategy,” said Ashish Rangnekar, CEO, BenchPrep. “It was just a few years ago that Ujjwal Gupta and I started BenchPrep, and yet now we are calling the iconic Willis Tower home. Our new work environment will help us achieve our aggressive revenue goals and continue attracting Chicago’s top talent to join our rapidly expanding team.” 

Meltwater, founded in 2001 in Oslo, Norway, helps companies make better, more informed decisions based on insights from the outside. This will be the fourth Chicago location for Meltwater, which hosts 26,000 clients, over 1,500 employees and 55 global offices.

“New technology, including recent advances in artificial intelligence, are transforming the communications industry and we're excited to bring these innovations to the greater Chicagoland area,” said Jeff Rusignuolo, Area Director, Meltwater Americas. “Willis Tower will now be home to our team of media experts in every industry, supporting Meltwater’s growth across the Midwest. We are proud to be the city's top choice for media intelligence solutions and look forward to extending the reach of Chicago-based businesses both locally and globally.”

“We are pleased to partner with organizations like BenchPrep and Meltwater – two growing companies that provide unique solutions for their consumers – in developing ideal workspaces which support their growth and help to foster a dynamic corporate culture,” said David Moore, SVP and Portfolio Director, Equity Office. “Enhancing the Willis Tower for the modern workforce has meant adding amenities expressly intended for tenants whose workdays are not the typical nine-to-five. BenchPrep and Meltwater represent the businesses of the future, showcasing the ingenuity of Chicagoans, and we are excited they chose Willis Tower as their new home.”

Maggie Brophy, Jamey Dix and Joy Jordan of Telos represented Equity Office in both transactions. Christine Torres, Vice President with Colliers International, represented BenchPrep. Paul Reaumond and Steve Salomon with CBRE represented Meltwater.

Blackstone acquired Willis Tower in 2015, and announced a $500 million renovation to the building earlier this year in conjunction with Equity Office, the U.S. office portfolio company wholly-owned by Blackstone’s real estate funds. Through the investment, Willis Tower will be transformed and reinforced as a civic destination and the ultimate workplace with unprecedented office amenities, and unique retail and entertainment experiences. The transformation will be the first major renovation in the building’s 43-year history, creating a modernized Willis Tower. It will include 150,000 square feet of space for exclusive tenant use, more than 300,000 square feet of new retail, dining and entertainment space to be added to the base of the building, and a new 30,000-square-foot outdoor deck and garden space.

Willis Tower currently has an 87% occupancy rate and includes companies such as Dentons, Korn Ferry, United Airlines and Oracle.

For more information, visit www.WillisTower.com.

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About BenchPrep

Based in Chicago, BenchPrep is the only comprehensive learner success platform on the market and recognized as an expert in learner success globally. The company’s innovative solutions are disrupting the exam prep and continuing education market by providing an unmatched learner experience. Some of the largest assessment companies including ACT, HR Certification Institute, Hobsons, McGraw Hill Education, CFA Institute, OnCourse Learning, GMAC, Infusion Nursing Society, Academy of Nutritionists & Dietetics and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have partnered with BenchPrep to offer official exam prep or continuing education programs. More than 3 million learners have used BenchPrep to get their credentials, professional certifications and occupational licenses. To discover more about BenchPrep, please visit BenchPrep.com.

About Equity Office

The Equity Office portfolio, encompassing approximately 47 million square feet of Class A office space throughout the U.S., is rich with signature properties in the nation’s leading gateway markets. The company focuses heavily on meeting the current trends and changing strategic needs of companies and our chosen markets. With an average tenure of over 25 years in the real estate industry, our regional leaders also head teams with deep experience across the board from investment and asset management, to property management, development and construction. As an affiliate of Blackstone, a pre-eminent global asset manager providing significant financial strength and long-term stability, we are extremely well capitalized. Please visit www.equityoffice.com for more information.

About Willis Tower

Standing 1,450 feet and 110 stories tall at 233 S. Wacker Drive, Willis Tower offers more than 4.5 million square feet of premiere office, retail and entertainment space. Debuted in September 1973 as the Sears Tower, today more than 100 prominent businesses call Willis Tower home, including financial services, law firms and insurance companies. America’s iconic skyscraper is centrally situated between the city’s financial and cultural hubs and the dynamic West Loop, home to some of the Windy City’s top shops and restaurants. Boasting spectacular Chicago and Lake Michigan views reaching nearly 50 miles on a clear day, the 103rd floor Skydeck Chicago is the highest observation deck in the United States. Featuring The Ledge, a first-of-its kind attraction that extends four glass viewing boxes beyond the structure itself to create an unforgettable viewing experience, Willis Tower attracts more than 1.6 million visitors per year. For more information, please visit willistower.com / theskydeck.com.