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Local News

Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet announces pending lease deal worth $43,000

JOLIET – The Rialto Square Theatre announced this week it has leased about 3,600 square feet of office space, a sign that business goes on at the theater amid its recent financial crisis.

“I don’t want to say business as usual, but it is,” Rialto board member James Smith said Thursday. “We are out doing business every day. We’re trying to solicit business each day. You just have to keep peddling.”

News of a lease, worth more than $43,000 a year, was a reminder that the Will County Metropolitan Exposition Authority, the formal name for the governing board that oversees the Rialto, also manages a substantial amount of office space.

Even this good news, which Smith announced at the Wednesday board meeting, may have to wait for the final applause.

The lease has not yet been finalized, said Andrea Detellis, managing attorney for Prairie State Legal Services, which would move its downtown office to the 2 Rialto Square building if the deal is completed.

“We don’t have a final agreement at this point,” Detellis said.

The Rialto building would meet Prairie State Legal Services need for additional space, Detellis said. But the documents and terms are still under review for final approval, she said.

The federally funded agency, which is located downtown, provides legal assistance to needy clients.

If Prairie State Legal Services moves in, the agency would take space vacated earlier this year by Mayor Bob O’Dekirk’s law firm, O’Dekirk, Allred & Associates.

O’Dekirk said his firm also needed more space and moved to another downtown location.

“We looked at taking the empty office next door [in the Rialto building]. It did not have enough space,” he said. “It had nothing to do with [Rialto] management or Randy. We just needed more space.”

Randy is Randy Green, who became the former general manager of the Rialto Square Theatre on Wednesday when the board approved a separation agreement sought after the theater fell $120,000 behind in payroll tax payments.

At the board meeting, Building Operations Manager Mike Biedron said another attorney downtown looked at Rialto office space on Wednesday.

“He seemed very interested,” Biedron said. “He will be coming back Friday.”

Smith, who heads the board’s Real Estate Committee, gave the board a report on commercial office rentals throughout the three buildings overseen by the authority. He said space is about 40 percent occupied.

The building called Rialto North has had no occupants for about 20 years, he said. According to Biedron, that building needs at least $1 million worth of improvements to become compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

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