Actors' Equity Gets a New Chicago Home; Will Move in Spring 2010

News   Actors' Equity Gets a New Chicago Home; Will Move in Spring 2010 Actors' Equity Association (AEA), the union representing more than 1,400 professional actors and stage managers in the Chicago area and 48,000 nationwide, purchased a building at 557 W. Randolph St. as its new Chicago office.

Zonta International sold the building for $2 million. The sale represents an expansion for AEA, which will vacate approximately 9,300 square feet at 125 S. Clark St.

The 21,800-square-foot facility currently has four stories and a basement, though officials with AEA have made plans to renovate the building to take advantage of the property's "DX-7 zoning," which would allow for a larger mixed-use facility. The Association will initially occupy two stories beginning in the second quarter of 2010 and lease the remainder of the facility as an investment on behalf of the organization's membership.

"Close to the heart of the Chicago theatre district, the new Equity building is a great investment that will meet the needs of our members, staff and the dynamic Chicago theatre community for many years to come," stated John P. 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."

Steven DiPaola, AEA's assistant executive director for administration and finance, represented AEA in the negotiations.

"With its immediate proximity to I-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," stated Mark Staples, senior vice president of Office Group, who facilitated the transaction. "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."

Constructed in 1855 by Henry Horner & Co. Wholesale and Flour Dealers, the facility is just one of two buildings in the area to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

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Actors' Equity Association (AEA or "Equity"), founded in 1913, represents more than 48,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. Equity "seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society." Equity negotiates wages and working conditions, providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans. AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. www.actorsequity.org.