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Northern Illinois Conference Office Relocation FAQ

Q: How have our office space needs changed?
In 2002, when the Conference moved into 77 W. Washington from Higgins Road, we needed dedicated office space for 32 people and five part-time offices. Today, in 2022, we need dedicated office space for ten people. There are eight hybrid positions, and District Superintendents are now fully remote. We will go from 9,400 square feet to 7,100 square feet in office space. The Conference has developed the capacity for remote work by digitizing files, providing remote access to the server, and enhancing the ability for persons to work outside of dedicated office space throughout the pandemic. While the office continues as a space for Conference administrative work, no meetings have been held in the conference room since 2018. Typically, when there is a face-to-face meeting, it happens in a local church in the suburbs. We have various choices for suitable meeting spaces in the suburbs. Zoom and online meetings have also become the norm. The practice that began in the pandemic seems to be the preference now. Conference committees will typically only meet in person, one of every four meetings.

Q: What prevented us from staying in the current location?
A: While we explored smaller footprints with 77 W. Washington building management, these options involved construction work that would be difficult and expensive to arrange in the current environment. After much discussion and evaluation, the Board of Trustees concluded unanimously that the best use of the Conference’s resources is to move to a new location.

Q: Why is this a good time to make a move?
A: Many companies are abandoning office space or moving to smaller offices now that hybrid and work from home options have become the norm. Loop commercial rental property is cheaper than its been in a long time. The Conference will be subleasing space from a marketing company that has decided to go fully remote. Consequently, landlords are providing an unprecedented incentive to new tenants. For example, in our 10-year agreement, we will receive 13 months of free rent, 40 months at half price, and 500 square feet for free for the entire period.

Q: Did the Trustees consider locations outside of Chicago?
A: Many repeatedly voiced whether moving to a local church was a possibility. The Conference requires 7,500 square feet, accessible space, security, and good transportation access. No churches have that amount of vacant space available, but these opportunities may arise if a current tenant vacates. The new lease will allow us to sublease to someone else if we can align our needs with the availability of a suitable local church in the future. The loop is the most accessible location for workers from a wide diversity of communities. Our current employees come from the southside, northside, and south, west, and north suburbs.

Q: Will this move affect our local churches’ connection to the conference office?
A: Conference staff will remain available and accessible as always. In our evaluation of options, we heard many speak fondly about their connection to the Regional Offices, which were abandoned partly because DSes stopped using them. Currently, our DSes work from home, and their two District Administrative Assistants collaborate at the Conference Office. Although the power of relationships built from those locations is still resonant, we cannot accommodate a move to regional offices right now. We have clearly heard the desire for connection between the Conference staff and the local church and will continue to make available and improve services wherever we are located. 

Q: Does public transportation drop off at this location? 
A. Yes. A shuttle bus departs from the train stations and drops off at the office building’s front door. CTA buses also run with stops nearby. The building’s direct connection to the pedway provides year-round, weather-protected “L” Train and Metra line access within walking distance. Onsite parking is available and can be reserved in advance

Q: Where do we send correspondence?
A: The change of address is:
Northern Illinois Conference, 303 E. Wacker Dr., Suite 2020, Chicago, IL 60601.

Send Apportionment & Health Insurance/Pension checks to the same PO Box address:
Northern Illinois Conference, PO Box 5646, Carol Stream, IL 60197-5646.

Property Insurance payments should be sent to:
Northern Illinois Confernece, PO Box 8246, Carol Stream, IL 60197-8246.

All other communications with the Conference should be sent to the new address. 

Q: What will happen to others who share Conference office space?
A: The United Methodist Foundation of the Northern Illinois Conference, which shared space on the 18th floor, has also decided to move to a new location in the west end of the Loop on November 1. Their new address will be 155 North Wacker Drive, Suite 4250, Chicago, IL 60606. Look for postcards with the new address mailed to local churches later this month. The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW), which shared space with the Conference on the 19th floor, also moved out of the Temple in October. While the staff will be working remotely, correspondence may be mailed to the new NIC address at 303 E. Wacker Dr., Suite 2020, Chicago, IL 60601. The agency’s phone number stays the same, 312-346-4900 or toll-free 800-523-8390. Their email is and their website is  Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors will remain in their office spaces on the 19th floor of the Chicago Temple.

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