American Library Association (ALA) President Wanda Brown and Executive Director Mary W. Ghikas today announced that ALA has sold its headquarter buildings at 50 E. Huron and 40 E. Huron in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.
“We are thrilled that, after many years of study, research, and discussion, the transfer of a valuable real estate to ALA’s endowment fund is at last complete,” Brown said. “Of course, it is bittersweet to be leaving our home of so many decades. But ALA is focused on the future and is optimistic about all that it holds.”
In Spring 2020, ALA will be moving its Chicago-based office functions to Michigan Plaza at 225 N. Michigan Ave. Until then, ALA staff will continue to occupy the buildings on Huron until the new office buildout, designed by architecture firm NELSON, is complete. The move will provide ALA with modernized workspace, including enhanced meeting space.
“50 E. Huron is a landmark in the library world,” said Ghikas. “We’ve heard from our members that visiting is a kind of pilgrimage. However, the spirit of ALA does not reside at any fixed address. We look forward to carrying on our work on behalf of librarians, library workers and libraries in our new home on Michigan Avenue.”
Dedicated in 1963, the building at 50 E. Huron served ALA for nearly two decades before the association built an extension in the parking lot it owned next door. In 1981, the building at 40 E. Huron opened for business. The two connected buildings have housed the association’s staff ever since.
“A project this large and this long in the making could not have been accomplished without the tireless help of many parties, including the ALA Executive Board, Mary Ghikas, Dan Hoppe, former ALA CFO Mark Leon, interim CFO Denise Moritz, our partners at Cushman and Wakefield, and countless others,” said Brown. “It’s a historic moment for ALA, and we look forward to celebrating with our members, partners, and friends when we welcome more than 20,000 library workers to Chicago for ALA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition in June 2020.”