In an historic decision, the Showmen's League Of America (SLA) voted to the sell the SLA headquarters on 300 W. Randolph in Chicago to the John Buck company for $2.5 million. SLA President James Drew III conducted the special meeting which was attended by 40 people by teleconference. 38 voted for the sale of the building, 1 abstained from the vote and another voted no.
The John Buck Company is developing a Sky Scraper next-door to the SLA building so the property was attractive to them. The City of Chicago appraised the building for $1.2 million so the offer was a substantial premium over the appraised value.
Also driving the decision was The City of Chicago's interest in using the property to serve as a park for the new nearby development.
Jeff Blomsness, chairman of the building committee said, "If we don,t sell the building, the city will acquire it within a few years by eminent domain for the appraised value. It is a good thing for the league and I am happy to be apart of it".
He also pointed out that the current building was in need of repairs and renovations including a rusted fire escape and 100+-year old plumbing that was already responsible for a recent flood in the building. " With the demolition of our neighboring building occupied by Giordano's, there could be a lot of structural issues", he added
The sale of the building is still pending and will take place on December 1 and the property must be vacated by May 1. John Buck Construction Company also acquired the Walgreens across the street and has offered the building to the SLA for minimal cost to use for meetings through 2009 until the SLA relocates.
Through the City of Chicago's 1031 land exchange, the SLA will have 45 days from closing to find a new building in the same price range or higher to avoid paying tax on the gain from the sale of the building.
The SLA is looking at several locations in the City of Chicago, with a lot of interest centered on the Theatre District. One of the buildings they are interested in is a 5-story building located down the street from their current location. The new building has current tenants that would provide the SLA with $300,000+ of net yearly income said Blomsness "Just think of all the scholarships we could award with that type of income", he said. The current SLA building has one tenant, Harry's Hotdogs, which produces a small amount of income for the club. In exchange, Harry's son donated his time as the SLA's legal counsel.
The building committee, which has done most of the work on the sale and new location is comprised of Jeff Blomsness, Graham Putnam, Ron Burback, Bill Johnson and Jimmy Drew.
Committee member Johnson expressed an interest for the club to move closer to O'Hare airport "toward the suburbs". He said while the board has voted to sell the building, "until we close on Dec. 1, nothing is final".
For more information on the Buck building plan visit:
The John Buck Company