Uber opens new office at Old Post Office

More than 2,000 Uber employees are expected to begin occupying the massive space in the coming weeks.

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Uber’s event space at the Old Post Office.

An event space at Uber’s new office in the Old Post Office.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Uber had people over Tuesday to show off its new digs.

It was the official ribbon cutting at the company’s gleaming new space at the Old Post Office where more than 2,000 employees will begin working over the next few days.

Uber’s 461,000-square-foot space (more than four football fields) encompasses all of the ninth floor and portions of the eighth and 10th floors. It will serve as the global headquarters for Uber Freight and the regional headquarters for Uber Eats and Uber Rides.

The company plans to use about 310,000 square feet of the space, at first at least, leaving room to grow and sublease.

The ninth floor contains a cafeteria with healthy food options (no soda, try the sparkling water instead), a “hall of mirrors” featuring a wall covered with more than 1,300 sideview mirrors (the kind you’d find on a big rig) and conference rooms designed to look like shipping containers.

Lighting in the massive space is set to mimic natural daylight and adjusts automatically.

“I do think it is officially Uber’s most awesome office. That’s a technical term at Uber. ‘Most awesome’ is high praise,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi joked Tuesday.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speaks during the grand opening of Uber’s office at the Old Post Office Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speaks during the grand opening Tuesday of Uber’s office at the Old Post Office.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

A large, spiral staircase connects the eighth and ninth floors.

Gensler, a San Francisco-based architectural firm with an office in Chicago, designed the space.

To encourage collaboration, none of the approximately 1,200 workstations at the office will be dedicated to any individual employees.

Khosrowshahi expects to hire hundreds of more employees in Chicago as the company focuses on diversity within its ranks.

“Chicago will be the tip of the spear for that diversity within the Uber ecosystem,” he said.

The company also has a rooftop space that it plans to build out next year. It’s adjacent to existing walkways, gardens, gathering areas, two pickleball courts and a basketball court.

Uber’s new digs will replace the office they’ve been operating out of at 225 W. Randolph St.

Lior Ron, head of Uber Freight, said the Old Post Office “was the natural choice for us” because the building was the largest logistics hub of its time when it was erected a century year ago.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot thanked Uber execs for choosing Chicago.

“We’ve marketed the heck out of that fact in talking to other companies about why Chicago should be the hub of their business activities, particularly other tech companies. You made us cool in that world,” she said.

Uber, which has a vaccine mandate for its office workers but not its drivers, will expect its employees to spend at least half their time at the office. The other half can be spent working remotely.

Other tenants at the Old Post Office — a behemoth of a building on the south branch of the Chicago River — include Walgreens, Cisco Systems, Ferrara Candy and PepsiCo.

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