The Franklin Chicago: A Skyscraper of Many Purposes

The Franklin Center, also known as “The Franklin,” is the sixth tallest building in Chicago and the 27th tallest in the US.

It’s one of the iconic structures in the city’s skyline, located at 227 W Monroe St. It’s two separate towers that have been joined together.

The Franklin Center: Details

The Franklin Chicago

The Franklin building is 1,007 feet with 62 floors. It has 1.7 million square feet of floor space, which is occupied by offices, a two-floor retail concourse, a 650-seat restaurant, and a 24-hour, 350-space parking garage.

Winning realtor Stein & Company asked Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) to design the Franklin Center. Construction began in 1987.

It was built in 1989 when it was known as the “AT&T Corporate Center.” In 1992, it was attached to the adjacent USG Building. The two structures share an 85,000-square-foot site. There’s a 16-story atrium that links the two towers.

Tishman Speyer bought the structure in 2004. In 2007, he changed the USG Building’s name to the Franklin Center because USG moved to a new building. Soon after, all the buildings in the complex shared that name.


SOM designed the tower in a postmodern architectural style. It’s a granite-clad, steel-framed structure with vertical lines. It has setbacks on floors 15, 30, and 45.

The building is deep red on the bottom, and it shifts to rose/beige at the top. It has Gothic detailing to mimic towers from the 1920s. Its close proximity to Willis Tower helps it stand out in the skyline.

Some indoor decorations include marble floors and walls, gold-leaf oak trim, and stylish light fixtures.

Worker Amenities

Employees working at the Franklin can take advantage of studios and lounges. “ZO.” is a lounge on floor 6 for people who need a break. There are couches, nap pods, drinks, and shuffleboard.

“Studio” offers workspaces for groups and individuals that are members. Anyone visiting Studio also gets access to ZO.

Exterior Lights

The Franklin is one of the Chicago buildings that’s accented with lights at night. The colors correspond with holidays and events, such as red and green for Christmas and pink for Valentine’s Day.

During bird migration seasons, the building managers dim the lights to reduce bird mortalities.


Franklin Center has eco-friendly operations for its tenants. They’ve earned a LEED Silver ranking by focusing on reusing and recycling materials.

To date, they’ve recycled over 836,000 pounds of waste, saved 7,000 trees, and conserved 3 million gallons of water.

Franklin Center vs Other Chicago Towers

Willis Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower, St. Regis Chicago, Aon Center, and 875 North Michigan Avenue are taller than the Franklin.

Franklin Center is only 120 feet shorter than 875 North Michigan Avenue, the 5th tallest building. It’s 444 feet shorter than Willis Tower, Chicago’s tallest building.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How Far is the Franklin Center from Willis Tower?

The Franklin Center is only 0.1 miles from Willis Tower, so one minute by car and five minutes by foot.

How Much is Parking at the Franklin Chicago?

Parking at the Franklin is a minimum of $12 per hour or $30 per day. Rates vary based on when you visit. Other parking structures are a short walk away.

What’s Inside the Franklin Center Chicago?

Franklin Center has several shops, restaurants, and offices. On the main floor, there’s Starbucks, Citibank, Sydel & Sydel, Rustle + Roux, Amazon Go, and several other spaces.


The Franklin is less than a block from Willis Tower, so it’s easy to spot in the Chicago skyline. Like the other tall buildings, it has a variety of uses, and it has colorful exterior lights at night.

It once stood on its own as the AT&T Corporate Center, but now it’s part of several Franklin Center buildings. The retail floors are open to the public, and many people work in this tower daily.