ARU moves into new studio at 625 N. Michigan April 2

ARU owners Don Arbuckle and Marc Zeboski

Come April 2, ARU, the venerable recording studio, will settle into its new home at 625 N. Michigan Ave. after 23 memorable years of occupancy over four floors in the tower of the 400 N. Michigan Wrigley Building.

ARU owners/engineers Don Arbuckle and Marc Zeboski are exchanging their present 6,400-sq. ft. for 6,600-sq. ft. of new space on the 24th floor of the Michigan and Ontario building.

“It was time to move on, through no fault of ours,” says Arbuckle.  “We are really excited about our new space, although we naturally have very mixed emotions about leaving the good people with whom we’ve had some incredible relationships for so long a time.”

Arbuckle estimates that the company has invested about $150,000 for refitting and refreshing of the space: adding a third office and new kitchen and cafeteria, refinishing all the hardwood floors, new paint, new lighting and carpeting.

They also spent around $100,000 for upgrades – “all brand-new gear, the latest Avid and ProTools equipment,” Arbuckle says.  

Wrigley lease in flux during ownership change

When Arbuckle and Zeboski bought the company from founder/engineer Mike King in 2007, they knew right off that ARU’s lease would expire in April 2012.  “We were working under the assumption that we would renew the lease at that time and that the building would make the customary renewal upgrades,” notes Arbuckle.

The owners introduced the subject of lease renewal in June 2011, when the Wrigley Building ownership was in a state of flux and were told the renewal could not be addressed until 2011.

Unsure of the future and realizing they would need time to make the space upgrades, Arbuckle and Zeboski took the initiative and began looking at other options along Michigan Avenue and Streeterville.

“Then last September we fell in love with available space at 625 N. Michigan and started negotiating with the management there,” Arbuckle relates. 

“We took this deal back to the Wrigley’s new owner, The Zeller Group, and told them we’d like to stay and get the same deal in-kind here.  They came back the next day and said ‘no, thanks.’ And that was the end of that.”

ARU has staff of 10

The next chapter for ARU begins April 2, when its staff of 10 officially takes possession of their new quarters.  In addition to Arbuckle and Zeboski, the audio engineers are veteran Bill Kovach and Tom Haigh, a film mixer, composer and musician, who started as an ARU intern 16 months ago.

The video editing department is run by brothers Rami Atassi, a radio and video producer and Remsy Atassi, DP and editor.  They also handle ARU’s massive music/effects library. 

Adrienne Thomas is client coordinator, Lynn Rondeau, scheduler and Sean Graves, inside sales. 

Their client roster includes audio for Abelson-Taylor’s pharmaceutical corporate communications and national spots; SPM Communications broadcast for medical care clients, radio for Y&R and recording for MacMillan books.

Arbuckle enthusiastic about new building

Says Arbuckle, “We are amped up beyond belief about our new space,” for which ARU has an eight year lease. He is unabashed about his praise for the new building. 

“Anyone whose lease is coming up should consider it. There’s space available and the people at the Golub management company are fabulous.”  

ARU is retaining its phone number, 312/527-7000.  Since the company is basically starting anew, it is creating a new logo and website.  And Arbuckle says he can’t wait to host an Open House to show off their new studio sometime in May.