Actors’ Equity Assn., the national stage thesps union, has purchased a building in North Hollywood that will become the org’s new West Coast digs early next year.

At 18,000 square feet, the freestanding, single-story building will allow Equity to create an audition center similar to the popular centers at Equity’s Gotham and Chicago offices. The edifice also will have a parking lot that will accommodate around 50 cars, resolving longstanding parking issues at the offices the org currently rents in Hollywood.

Purchase price was $5.2 million, with an additional $1.5 million earmarked for program development in the building, according to Equity.

The L.A. acquisition is the latest real estate maneuver for the union, which purchased a building for its Chicago office in 2009 and is in the midst of a significant renovation of its headquarters in midtown Manhattan. (Equity doesn’t own the New York building, but does own the land on which it stands.)

Steven DiPaola, Equity’s assistant director for finance and admin, led the search for the new space and negotiated the purchase. According to him, an internal study indicated that over 20 years it would cost less to own than it would to continue renting. He added that right now real estate prices are good enough to make it additionally worth getting in the game.

The new outpost on Tujunga Avenue is located in the NoHo Arts District, a zone that in 2007 scored $1 billion from the county for redevelopment projects. Equity aims to start renovations on its new home later this year, with a target move-in date of early 2014.