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CHICAGO-The Actors’ Equity Association has purchased a 22,000-square-foot office property for its new regional headquarters. The union will relocate to the four-story 557 W. Randolph, which it purchased from Zonta International for $2 million. The move represents growth for AEA, which was previously based out of 9,000 square feet at 125 S. Clark St.

“Close to the heart of the Chicago theater district, the new Equity building is a great investment that will meet the needs of our members, staff and the dynamic Chicago theater community for many years to come,” says John Connolly, executive director of AEA. “It’s exciting to be in a position to make a strong contribution to the vibrancy of one of downtown Chicago’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods for the arts, entertainment and dining.”

557 W. Randolph is in the River West neighborhood, part of the West Loop submarket, where occupancy rates are around 86%.

The property was constructed by Henry Horner & Co. Wholesale and Flour Dealers in 1855 and was one of two buildings to survive the Chicago fire of 1871 in the area. The union will move into two stories in the second quarter of 2010. AEA plans to renovate the building into a mixed-use facility and lease the space it is not occupying.

AEA was represented in-house by Steven DiPaola, the union’s assistant executive director for administration and finance, in the deal, which was facilitated by Mark Stables, SVP, with Grubb & Ellis’ Office Group.

“With its immediate proximity to Interstate 90/94, the Clinton Green Line ‘L’ stop and both the Ogilvie Transportation Center and Union Station, 557 W. Randolph is a perfect match for Actors’ Equity Association,” Stables says. “Additionally, the fact that they were able to leverage the purchase in an all-cash deal saved them nearly a third of the cost of the original asking price – a huge value even in today’s economic environment.”

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