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CHICAGO-Two businesses have grabbed up more than 12,000 sf of space at 55 W. Wacker in the city’s Central Loop. Zonta International Foundation, a women’s advocacy organization, bought 7,116 sf on the building’s eighth floor for around $2 million, says Juan DeAngulo, regional manager for Cape Horn Group, the building’s owner. Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation purchased 5,113 sf of office space on the building’s 11th floor for around $1.4 million, DeAngulo says.

“The opportunity to own and secure a stable location in a prime spot downtown on the river was very appealing to their organizations,” DeAngulo tells GlobeSt.com. “These are nonprofit organizations that feel where they’re located makes a statement for them. They saw the opportunity to own and get more value by owning their space.”

Bear will relocate its national headquarters from space it leased at 23 W. Hubbard Street in the River North area. DeAngulo represented Cape Horn in the transaction. Zonta will move its global headquarters to the building from space it previously owned at 557 W. Randolph St. in the West Loop. Charles Saul and Wallace Kruce of L.J. Sheridan & Co. represented Zonta, while Cape Horn Group’s Larry Cohn represented the seller.

Cape Horn Group purchased the building in April 2006, when it was 94% occupied with leases. Since then, the company has been letting leases expire and selling the space off. About 50% of the building has been sold to various companies, 20% of the building is vacant with sales in progress, and the other 30% of the space remains leased, DeAngulo says.

The 15-story, 209,000-sf building was constructed in 1968 as the headquarters of Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois, and has changed hands several times since then, DeAngulo says. An affiliate of Cape Horn acquired the building in 2006 for $36 million. Cape Horn began selling the spaces in September 2007, according to DeAngulo. He says buyers have included the American Lung Association, several law firms, a financial institution, an entrepreneur who distributes diesel engines and an investor.

“Before us, there was no alternative for someone to own along the river in Chicago,” DeAngulo said. “Anything on the river is in very, very high demand, and the vacancy rates are very low.”

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