Utigard and Katherine Williams, also with Transwestern,represented the school in the lease transaction. John Dempsey andMelissa Rubenstein, both with CB Richard Ellis, and Karin Kraai,with Merchandise Mart Properties, represented the building owner inthe transaction. Vornado Realty Trust is the owner of thebuilding.

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The school, which was founded in 1979, also leases about 80,000sf nearby at 325 N. Wells, Utigard says. The school's studentpopulation has increased from 845 in 2004 to 1,450 currently. Thespace in the Merchandise Mart will be used for a mixture ofclassrooms, faculty offices and a forensics center that will berelocated from 325 Wells, Utigard tells GlobeSt.com.

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The Merchandise Mart is between 98% and 99% occupied, says MarkFalanga, SVP with Merchandise Mart Properties. The asking leaserates for office space ranges from the mid-$20's to low-$30's,gross, he says. Major tenants include advertising firm WWP Group,the Chicago Sun Times and advertising firm Publicis.

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