Sorry, I desagree comletely.
Why are you not making the text in InDesign? Ai has a complete different text engine than Id or Ic.
It is easy to click with the Direct Selection tool and the Alt-key on a vector and open this ai file. If you want to search and replace, do it in Ai, if you work in different Ai fileds, put them together into one single ai file and use multiple art boards.