Football helmet manufacturer Riddell is moving its headquarters from Rosemont, Ill., to Des Plaines, Ill., and expanding its footprint with an upgraded equipment testing facility, the company said March 15.
Riddell has signed a multiyear lease for 27,000 square feet of office and lab space near O'Hare International Airport, just a half-mile west of its current office.
The company, which has 58 employees at its corporate headquarters, is slated to move into vacant office space in the six-story, 137,000-square-foot building by July 1.
Riddell's new space includes two floors and around 5,000 more square feet than its current headquarters in Rosemont, where the company has been based for more than a decade.
Riddell spokeswoman Erin Griffin said the company's lease in Rosemont was expiring, and the new office "allows us to build from the ground up a best-in-class testing facility, which is really important to our business from a research and product development side, as well as for quality control."
The company's Rosemont office includes a testing lab where researchers hone their football helmet designs and technology. The sales of higher-tech, more expensive protective gear developed there in recent years has been key to driving revenue increases at the company.
But those gains have been weighed down by concussion-related litigation and related higher insurance premiums. Riddell has faced complaints from hundreds of ex-football players claiming the company failed to warn them about the extent to which their helmets protected them from head trauma.
Riddell considered locations in Schaumburg, Oak Brook and downtown Chicago for its new office, but the proximity to both O'Hare and public transit were the main drivers in the decision to stay in the area, said CBRE Executive Vice President Jon Springer, who represented Riddell on the deal along with Paul Diederich and Andrew Kaplan.
Riddell is a subsidiary brand of BRG Sports Inc., a holding company backed by New York-based private equity firm Fenway Partners.