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CHICAGO-Columbia College Chicago is buying a city-owned, 39,700-sf parcel of land at the southwest corner of 16th and State streets for $200,000. The Chicago City Council approved the sale at its Sept. 10 meeting, and the college expects to close on the South Loop property later this fall. The college is expected to begin construction on a $21 million media production center on the site in early 2009, with an opening planned for spring 2010.

“We were particularly happy to get this property, given the value of property in the South Loop,” a spokeswoman for the school tells GlobeSt.com. “We thought we may have had to build something further away from our central campus, but this property emerged. We got a very nice price from the city of Chicago.”

The spokeswoman says the vacant lot is within about a mile of the college’s central campus, at 600 S. Michigan Ave. The 38,000-sf Media Production Center, to be known as the MPC, will be designed by Studio Gang Architects. It will include two sound stages, a motion capture studio, animation lab, classrooms and space for production design and costumes. The building is planned to feature a transparent facade, and is being designed to obtain silver LEED certification.

The college provides more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in visual, performing, media and communication arts to nearly 12,500 students. “We need to build this facility in order to expand our capacity for education for the media students,” the spokeswoman says. “We were able to demonstrate that it would be used for educational purposes and compliment the neighborhood.”

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