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CHICAGO-National Able Network has signed an 11-year lease for a 22,000-square-foot office in the Pilsen neighborhood. The nonprofit employment and training agency has seen significantly increased demand given current economic challenges, and will use the second and third floor of 1700 W. 18th St. for a new workforce development center. Expected to open in July, the new location will join a 15,000-square-foot existing workforce center operated by National Able at 18th Street and Blue Island Avenue.

“Pilsen is the area that they’re concentrating on in terms of helping people with job creation and training,” says David Stein, managing principal of Steinco, which represented National Able Network in the deal. “They wanted to help the residents of the Pilsen community and you want to stay as central as possible in the neighborhood in downtown Pilsen. It’s just a fantastic location, right next to the El and just four or five blocks away from their current facility.”

The nonprofit’s lease brings the three-story building to 100% occupied. The ground level of the building, around 11,000 square feet, is occupied by a Dollar Store. Formerly a Goldblatt’s department store, the property was developed in the early 1900s.

National Able Network’s space will be built out to fit its needs and be LEED certified. Architectural and project management services to design the office will be provided by Steinco. The project will redevelop core and shell features, create a new entrance, expose the exterior brick/masonry construction, and bring new mechanical systems, elevators, windows and roof.

Stein says National Able Network was originally seeking a larger office, but that the tight Pilsen market limited their options and the company didn’t have the option to wait for another space to come along. Between 400 and 500 people are expected to visit the center on a daily basis.

“National Able Network was always growing tremendously, but the economic downturn and increase in unemployment has really caused the need for this center to be up and running sooner,” Stein tells GlobeSt.com. “They’ve received increased funding, and their mission is to help underprivileged, disadvantaged people by teaching trades and helping them find jobs. This is a great transaction for the city and the state because it’s helping to retrain people and put them back into the workforce.”

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