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updated: 3/27/2017 10:57 AM

Gallagher settles into new Rolling Meadows digs

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  • Video: Gallagher's New Building


Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is settling into its newly-renovated 11-story building in Rolling Meadows, which represents a homecoming after 26 years in Itasca.

This was the first week in the new digs for the last batch of 1,500 Gallagher employees to make the move, a gradual process that's taken place over the course of five consecutive weekends. The company is now putting the finishing touches on spaces within the 315,000-square-foot structure, with pictures ready for placement on walls and fresh coats of lacquer still detectable in some areas. Another 270 employees of the IT and mail departments have moved into a separate 2-story brick building on the Gallagher campus.

The country's fourth-largest commercial insurance brokerage considered city locations as it looked for a place to expand its global headquarters in 2014, but decided to move only eight miles away instead, from 2 Pierce Place in Itasca to 2850 Golf Road in Rolling Meadows.

Company officials wanted to stay in the Northwest suburbs to be close to O'Hare International Airport, with many clients and acquisition targets arriving daily for meetings. And with upward of $100 million spent to renovate and redevelop the Rolling Meadows corporate campus, a similar project downtown would have been more costly.

From 1974 to 1991, Gallagher occupied two floors of what was then the red brick west tower of the Gould Center, and later Meadows Corporate Center, on Golf Road. Today, the very same building that Gallagher purchased in 2014 is virtually unrecognizable.

Construction started in August 2015, shortly after the company secured a deal with Rolling Meadows for up to $30 million in tax increment financing district funds. Crews took out columns of brick and replaced them with glass, bringing in more light and offering better views.

"It's a space that's designed around our employees," said Cara Richardson, Gallagher's vice president of sourcing and services, during a tour of the building this week.

Take, for example, the first-floor commons area, which includes a free coffee bar that employees can visit throughout the day, and plenty of tables and chairs so employees don't have to be in their upstairs cubicles all day. The area was bustling with activity after 3 p.m. on the recent visit.

"The idea is to get a cup of coffee and go to a meeting," Richardson said. "There's a sense of community from this space."

Other amenities include a gym offering free yoga classes at lunchtime and before and after work, and a game room with a pool table for team-building exercises.

"We're not Google. We don't have this going on in the afternoon," Richardson said. "But there's a work-life balance. Some of your work life flows into your social life."

The upper floors include the typical office complement of cubicles, desks, phones and computers -- but there's a special room on each floor that includes either a treadmill desk or bike desk for employees who want a change of pace.

The second floor has a front desk concierge who can help out-of-town visitors print airline boarding passes, store bags, and make hotel arrangements. An outdoor veranda that overlooks the Jane Addams Tollway will host company events, and be another lunch spot for employees.

The building includes 80 conference rooms both large and small.

Gallagher has hired 535 people over the last three years, and officials say they plan to grow, as the building has room for 2,000.