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County leases top floor of Dunne Building to State

Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Crain's Chicago Business
by Greg Hinz

Cook County struck a somewhat unusual deal with another government to lease the top floor of its George W. Dunne Building at 69 W. Washington St., which has some of the best mid-Loop views in town but no longer is needed for county use.

Under a pact County President Toni Preckwinkle is announcing today, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board will move into just over 20,000 square feet May 1 on the Dunne Building's 35th floor. The five-year lease is expected to bring in more than $2 million.

For the county, the deal represents found money, though it will invest roughly $600,000 in construction and other upfront costs to prepare the space.

"Reducing the unused and underused space we occupy will save taxpayer dollars and help make county government more efficient," Ms. Preckwinkle said in a statement, noting that the state will pick up $195,000 in annual operating costs.

"Consolidating our real estate footprint allows the county to streamline operations and identify new ways to reduce expenses."

The county has been pushing for a deal for a while. Earlier it leased the 34th floor to the state, specifically to the Office of the Inspector General.

I don't have anything official yet from the state. But for those who might be wondering, the health department now is housed across the street from the Art Institute and has what I'm told are fine views of Grant Park.

Update — State spokesman Mike Claffey says the health department has overgrown space it occupies now at 122 S. Michigan, and that the new space will be 22 percent cheaper. Beyond that, the department has been urged to look in the public sector first when it needs space, and has reduced its overall office needs by 2.2 million square feet via consolidations since Pat Quinn became governor.

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