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Actor’s Equity is movin’ on up! (to the West side)

Via Chris Jones’ blog: The Theater Loop

Besides buying a new building, Actors’ Equity has plans to expand presence here in Chi-Town (i.e. which means more jobs!!)

Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States, has purchased its own building on Randolph Street just a block or two west of the core of Chicago’s theater district (click on map below to see exact location). And according to Steven DiPaola, the union’s assistant executive director for finance and administration, Equity is considering moving some of the union’s national back-office functions from New York to Chicago.

New location for Acor's Equity Association - 557 W. RandolphThe new office, located at 557 W. Randolph Street, will house the headquarters of Equity’s Central Region, an office that covers all Chicago theaters as well as such active theater cities as Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

“We’re going to have an expanded audition center and member’s center,” said DiPaola. “And we hope to bring in some arts-related tenants into the building.” That list is likely to include Equity’s credit union, as well as some external cultural organizations.

Says Mark Staples, senior vice president of Office Group, who facilitated the transaction: “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,”

The purchase price was $2 million.  557 W. Randolph Street is a four-story building with about 21,000 square feet. Equity, which will occupy two floors beginning in 2010, will be able to lease the space that it doesn’t use.


For larger map, click on pushpin

Built in 1855, 557 W. Randolph was one of the very few buildings in its area to survive the infamous 1871 Chicago fire. According to a statement from the union’s agent in the transaction, Mark Stables, a senior vice-president at Grubb and Ellis Company, Equity was able to save “nearly a third of the asking price” by paying in cash in these tough times. Equity will be moving from less than 10,000 square feet of rented space at 125 S. Clark St.

“This move shows our confidence in Chicago and its theater community,” DiPaola said.

Equity has about 1,500 members residing in Chicago.

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