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The Technology Inside the Shure Chicago City Center

What does it take to create a state-of-the art customer center in an historic 1906 Loop building? Shure Pro Systems Director Jim Schanz takes us behind the scenes to find out.
May, 15 2018 |
Interiors of Shure Chicago City Center

A couple of years ago, Shure had the idea to open a small office with a boardroom, conference room and space for a handful of staff in downtown Chicago. Fast-forward two years and thanks to corporate growth, the newly opened 35,000sqft space in The National Building is worlds away from the original plan.

Located just four and a half blocks from the site of the original Shure Loop office at 19 South Wells Street, Shure Chicago City Center is designed to welcome up to 150 Shure employees across sales, marketing, customer service and market development. It's also home to the exciting new Customer Experience Center.

A New Chapter in the Shure Story

Contrasting the high-spec new space to the modest storefront Wells Street office shows just how far Shure has come since its origin as a one-man outfit in 1925. The technology reflected in the expansive Shure Chicago City Center suggests big plans for the next chapter in the Shure story.

The new office occupies an entire floor of The National Building in Chicago's Loop district. Built in 1906, the building has been completely renovated by BlueStar Properties, a company with an impressive roster of music, entertainment and technology tenants. The building's blend of culture, energy and, of course, its central location made it irresistible to Shure.


Inside the Shure City Center


Center Stage: The Customer Experience Center

If there's a jewel in the crown of the Chicago City Center, it has to be the Customer Experience Center. Designed to showcase an array of Shure technology in a real-world environment, it features a wide range of gear, including the MXA910 Ceiling Array, MXA310 Table Array and the P300 Audio Conferencing Processor. Our singular mission was to create an ideal setting allowing customers and integrators to explore all the features of Shure products. Ironically, creating that realistic environment presented its own set of challenges.

After completing a thorough bid process for the installation from leading systems integrators, we chose Tampa-based AVI-SPL. From the beginning, it was clear that they shared our vision and the significance of reclaiming our Chicago roots. "Early on",  AVI-SPL Global Account Manager Shaun Barkman said, "We recognized the importance of the company's Chicago heritage and the importance of meeting the world-famous Shure exacting standards for performance."

We also had the help of Waveguide as our AV consultant and Arup as an acoustical consultant.

Another Perspective

Before the product was installed, we had to address the realities of a circa 1906 building.  The National has extremely high ceilings, which clearly affect the acoustics. In addition, the Shure City Center Chicago office is located on the fourth floor where city, traffic and street noise are factors.  Most crucially, however, the Center's downtown location meant we were contending with a crowded RF space.

The process was hugely enjoyable for me. I was able to see the project develop from a different point of view.  In designing the space, we faced the same challenges as many of our customers. We acoustically treated rooms, installed dropped ceilings and made physical modifications to create a more favorable working environment.

We also took advantage of Shure technology to overcome the sonic challenges presented by the architecture of this historic building. The results, we think, are impressive.

Open for Business

After two years of planning and more than a year of renovating the space and relocating staff, the Shure City Center Chicago is ready to welcome customers, integrators and associates. "This", Barkman notes, " is truly a special space that showcases the amazing solutions Shure's world class engineering and manufacturing have created." I couldn't agree more.

That pride echoes across Shure at our Niles headquarters and globally. The opportunities are clear, whether it is the ability to demo gear more effectively or the opportunities for hosting and entertaining artists in this vibrant part of the city.

We hope the office will be a central hub for clients, integrators and staff and we look forward to welcoming you here soon.

Jim Schanz
Jim Schanz is Vice President of Global Sales of Integrated Systems at Shure. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and secretly checking his phone to keep working.