SGJ Property Management Inc. Turns Historical Office Loft in Chicago into Unique Work Space

When it comes to facility management, Sarah Gullette-Johnson, owner of SGJ Property Management Inc., knows what she is talking about. As a property management professional, she stakes her business on taking care of and maintaining buildings. If the last few years serve as evidence of her company’s success, it’s fair to say that SGJPMI is very good at what it does.

Gullette-Johnson started her firm in 2008 with a small, six-unit residential building in the Bronzeville neighborhood. Today, the company has seven full-time employees and is responsible for 46 properties across the Chicago area. The last building that SGJ Property Management Inc. picked up contained 120 units.

She never set out to be an entrepreneur, but, like most savvy business owners, Gullette-Johnson recognized a need in the marketplace and developed a business plan to meet it.

In her case, the idea materialized from personal experience. Gullette-Johnson had purchased a condo at the height of the real estate boom, but when the market crashed her five-unit building fell into distress. As several owners left the building, the remaining owners had trouble keeping up with maintenance.

“We couldn’t find a management company that would work with us,” she said. “We weren’t alone in this problem. There were so many buildings at this time that were deemed either too small or too burdensome by big management companies.”

So, Gullette-Johnson wrote a business plan for what the ideal management company would look like, took it to friends who were experiencing the same problems with their buildings, and thus, SGJ Property Management Inc. was born.

“Once I started talking to my friends and acquaintances about my business plan, I had work right away,” she said.

The company then took off and new contracts kept coming in. The firm’s rapid growth was welcome, but Gullette-Johnson soon realized that she needed new creative office space to house her expanding staff.

Thus began the search that led SGJPMI to The Universal Building near West Town in Chicago. Gullette-Johnson was looking for classic loft offices and creative workspace in a convenient neighborhood that offered ample amenities, such as on-site parking.

“We needed a very professional looking building with plenty of parking,” said Gullette-Johnson. “I have managers that are coming and going at all hours, so gated parking and on-site security were very important to me.”

After one tour of the Universal Building, Gullette-Johnson was sold, as all of her requirements were met.

“The space spoke to us,” said Gullette-Johnson. “We really like the way it has been maintained. After I toured one loft office space, I knew this was the place for us.”

She was also pleasantly surprised to find the unique office building in such a well-located Chicago neighborhood. The area has several nearby restaurants and amenities, such as a yoga studio, adding a nice level of convenience for employees, she said.

Gullette-Johnson also expressed an appreciation for the building’s aesthetics, as the owners have taken the time to preserve some of the historical aspects of the property.

“I’m a big history buff and when I saw the care the owners had put into preserving the building’s history and that they display the actual stoves that were once made here, I was smitten,” said Gullette-Johnson.

Now, Gullette-Johnson believes she has found a unique Chicago office loft that will allow for SGJ Property Management’s continued growth into the foreseeable future.

“We wanted a work space that suits our company not only for today, but for where the company will be in five years,” said Gullette-Johnson. “We had to find a place that could grow with us.”

For more information about leasing office lofts in The Universal Building in Chicago, please call 773.342.2020.


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