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Q Center in St. Charles up for sale

ST. CHARLES – The Q Center in St. Charles is for sale. The center, at 1405 N. Fifth Ave., is owned by former accounting giant Arthur Andersen as a training facility. It will not sport a “for sale” sign in front, Andersen spokeswoman Deb French said.

Instead, CBRE, a commercial real estate firm, will seek interested investors and buyers and bring them to Andersen.

“I have no idea what the asking price is or what they are hoping to get for it,” French said.

CBRE would be issuing a news release, French said.

“This is the only property that Andersen actually ever owned,” French said. “Arthur Andersen is just exploring the options of trying to sell the property, to see if they can sell or get some investors to buy the business. And it’s the whole business.”

According to its website, the Q Center has 1,042 hotel rooms and 150,000 square feet of space available for meetings and gatherings on 95 wooded acres on the Fox River.

Andersen bought the property from the Adrian Dominican Sisters, who opened a Catholic women’s college there from 1963 to 1970, when the college failed.

St. Charles philanthropists Dellora and Lester Norris had donated the initial 57 acres to the sisters for the college, and Andersen later expanded it as a training center, according to a history of the site.

It first was called the Andersen Center for Professional Education, then Arthur Andersen Worldwide Organization. Andersen collapsed in 2002 when it was convicted of obstruction of justice in connection to shredding documents related to the company’s audit of the Enron Corp. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the conviction.

What was left of the Andersen company renamed the campus the Q Center to be used for conferences and social events. French said Andersen was looking to get out of the hospitality business.

“A lot of that stuff relating to Enron is winding … down on the legal side … and coupled with that is the commercial real estate market, which is starting to get a little better,” French said.

St. Charles Economic Development Coordinator Michael Mertes said the Q Center makes the city a destination.

“The Q Center has served a great niche in the community – a destination as a corporate training center,” Mertes said. “It is really used beyond that both by organizations on an hourly basis over a week, and fills a great need here.”

Mertes said the city’s hope is for it to continue as a destination place “and bring people into the community the way the Q Center has served.”

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