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CHICAGO-By the time some kindergartners are graduating high school, Robert Morris College still plans to be at its Downtown location at 401 S. State St. The four-year business, graphic arts, health care and technology college has extended its 200,000-sf lease for another five years—through 2017—with an option for another five years.

Brokers on both sides of the table say current conditions was a factor in the long-term planning and a decision made nearly 10 years in advance. “It was based upon the rental rate we were able to negotiate and the fact that they’re a good-credit tenant who has expanded four times in the last four years,” says Tom Garrity of Oakbrook Terrace, IL-based Anvan Midwest Realty, who represented property owner 1 Congress Center LLC along with Tom Sloan.

Lease rates at 401 S. State St. range from $14 per sf to $16 per sf net, Garrity tells GlobeSt.com, but a confidentiality agreement with the school prevents him from revealing how much Robert Morris College will pay.

The deal gives Robert Morris College the right to expand further, according to Julien J. Studley, Inc., which represented the private school that staked out a position in the city’s “education district” in 1998, two years after State Street was reopened to traffic. The area is home to institutions of higher learning such as Columbia College, DePaul University, Roosevelt University as well as the Art Institute’s school.

“We feel that the cultural amenities such as museums, theaters, libraries, and civic institutions of this area enrich our students’ experience and better prepares them for the business world,” says Robert Morris College vice president for business affairs Ron Arnold in a statement.

Julien J. Studley executive vice president Joe Learner handled negotiations for the school.

Although Robert Morris College is not participating, a $130-million “superdorm” is being built one block south, eventually housing a growing student population that finds limited housing opportunities in the redeveloping South Loop.

Despite the size of its lease at the 111-year-old building that stretches from Van Buren Street to Congress Parkway, Robert Morris College is still not the anchor tenant at the 10-story building, Garrity notes. The state department of employment security, which dispenses unemployment benefits in Illinois, leases 255,000 sf under a deal that expires next year, he says, adding negotiations are underway on a lease renewal.

Also, People’s Gas has a first-floor customer service office.

Besides Downtown, Robert Morris College has suburban satellite campuses in Aurora, Bensenville, Oak Lawn and Orland Park, as well as Springfield. It also recently leased space in Waukegan.

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