Lockdown turned the Loop into a ghost town, new innovations, changes are hoping to bring it back to life

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thursday afternoon used to be busy at law office of Laner Muchin, but since the pandemic began it's more like a ghost town.

Virtually all of the 70 employees here have the capability to work from home, and have left the office mostly empty.

"We're at the one-year mark since we've gone to remote working and it's worked out better than expected," said Jim Convery, Laner Muchin Managing Partner.

It's like that in offices throughout the loop.

At the old post office there are beautiful common areas for tenants in the huge building and an amazing roof deck complete with a full size basketball court. But for now, only a small percentage of tenants are here to enjoy it.

The building has new extensive cleaning and air purifying systems in place.

"Most people want to get back to work, in the office, to collaborate and work with other people," said Bryan Oyster, the building manager.

Building managers are working with Metra on plans to reopen downtown Chicago to workers.

They met this morning to talk about health concerns and what safety measures they can take to address them.

They also showed off a train car complete with elaborate cleaning and disinfecting protocols which they hope will make commuters feel safe coming back downtown.

There is literally a lot riding on it.

At Laner Muchin, while working from home is working out well so far, it does have it's limitations.

"There's nothing like face to face interaction and bouncing ideas off of someone," Convery said.

While many building managers are doing whatever they can to make tenants feel comfortable and safe coming back to work, they also realize it will likely be many months before these buildings are full of workers again.
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