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CHICAGO-Columbia College Dance and Theater School has signed a long-term lease that will keep its facilities in the South Loop. The school will occupy the entire second floor of the five-story 1122 S. Wabash Ave. building. Occupancy of the 12,600-sf space will take place this fall.

Yvonne Jones, a vice president with Zifkin Realty Group, represented building ownership, MBA Enterprises-3 Inc., in the transaction. Geoff Euston, a senior vice president at US Equities Realty, represented the college. “Building ownership is in the process of making several improvements,” Jones tells GlobeSt.com. “A new lobby is being constructed in addition to a new elevator, and the building will have two restaurants.” Eleven City Diner, a deli, has already opened on the ground floor, and another well-known Chicago-area restaurant will be announced soon for the retail space next door to the deli, Jones says.

Columbia College is now in the process of converting the former office space on the second floor of the five-story building for its rehearsal and performance studio. “They are totally gutting and rebuilding the existing space,” says Jones. “The school received an allowance for the build-out.”

The dance school is relocating from 1306 S. Michigan Ave. Constructed in 1920, 1112 S. Wabash has been maintained as an office property. “There isn’t much office space left in the South Loop,” Jones tells GlobeSt.com. “Most of it has been either torn down or re-used for either retail or residential space.”

Jones says that Columbia will continue to increase its presence in the South Loop by leasing or by acquisition. “The growth of Columbia’s Dance and Theater School prompted the search for a larger venue,” says Jones. “This new location accommodates the program’s continued expansion while remaining close to the college’s other properties. The College already occupies space right next door to this one.”

The school has two five-year renewal options for this space, according to Jones. There are other tenants in the building. If the school needed to eventually expand its space in the building, the opportunity may present itself if those tenants would choose not to renew their space.

Value of the lease was not disclosed. Trammell Crow Co.’s First Quarter 2006 Market Report lists the average asking price for office space in the South Loop at $15.77.

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