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    Posted May 8, 2009

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Actors' Equity Buys Building In Chicago

River West Location Is Close To Transportation, Theatre District

Deal Brings Long-Term Financial Benefits to the Association

557 West Randolph Street

Actors' Equity has purchased a building at 557 West Randolph Street for its new Chicago office.

The official announcement was made on Friday April 3, 2009 by Steven DiPaola, Equity's Assistant Executive Director for Finance and Administration, who represented AEA during the negotiations. The $2.05 million purchase price was 1/3 below the original asking price by the building's current owner and represents a significant long term cost-savings for the Association.

"557 Randolph is an exceptionally valuable investment that helps Equity save money," emphasized DiPaola. "As a result of the purchase and the anticipated rental income, we will reduce the cost of maintaining our Chicago office from $225,000 per year, to a little over $30,000 per year. In addition, we have eliminated the uncertainty of future rentals for our office and are no longer subject to the whims of the market, which might dictate having to pay high rent costs during the life of a lease. It also diversifies and strengthens the Association's overall asset portfolio."

Chicago Board members and staff visit the new site

The move represents an expansion for the Union, which will vacate 9,300 square feet of space at 125 South Clark Street next year. The 21,800-square-foot building currently has four stories and a basement, which will be renovated to take advantage of the property's DX-7 zoning and allow for a mixed-used facility. Equity will initially occupy two stories beginning in the second quarter of 2010 and lease the remainder of the facility for income purposes.

Constructed in 1855 by Henry Horner & Co. Wholesale and Flour Dealers, 557 West Randolph is just one of two buildings in the River West area to have survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The building is conveniently located near I-90/94, the Clinton Green Line "L" stop and both the Ogilvie Transportation Center and Union Station.

Central VP Dev Kennedy leads a toast in the new building

"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 generations to come," added AEA Executive Director John P. Connolly. "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."

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