The Illinois Association of REALTORS® held a ceremonial “burning of the mortgage” on March 31 at the IAR headquarters building located just steps from the State Capitol at 522 S. Fifth Street in Springfield.

The association first broke ground on the building in October 2005 and it was officially dedicated on March of 2007.

“First, we celebrate how IAR has evolved and grown since we moved into the new headquarters. And second, tonight is notable because we have retired the debt on the building and done it ahead of schedule. We paid off the building in eight years,” said IAR President Phil Chiles.

The mortgage burning ceremony also celebrated the cadre of IAR leaders who had the vision to make this building a reality. Among them, IAR’s 1992 President Phil Johnson who led the committee in charge of the project.

“There are several days that stand out as being among the proudest of my professional life. The first was when we broke ground for this building. The second was 2007 when we dedicated the building. Now, I’m adding a third day to the list, March 31, 2014,” said Johnson. “Thousands of members have played roles in this building project, whether they did it through committee work or by paying dues. Or both.”

Thirty members received special recognition for serving on the original building committee, the Real Property Operations Committee, and subsequent Plaza Committee, which oversees the building and adjoining real estate.

With its location near the Illinois State Capitol, the building fulfills a long-term goal for the 41,000-member REALTOR® association, which is recognized as one of the leading REALTOR® associations in the country for its advocacy of private property rights and professional services to its members.

Founded in 1916, the Illinois Association of REALTORS® is committed to maintaining a strong REALTOR® presence in governmental affairs. The new headquarters building underscores the REALTOR® role in fostering a healthy business environment and service to private property owners with the location in close proximity to the Capitol.

The 30,000-square-foot building was designed by Springfield-based architectural firm Melotte Morse Leonatti, Ltd., and is situated in the H-2 Historic District of downtown Springfield across the street from the Illinois Executive Mansion.

For 50 years, the site of the new IAR headquarters was a surfaced parking lot, until REALTORS® reenergized this stretch of prime downtown real estate.