The Real Deal Chicago

Chicago Tribune’s plan to move its sign, worth $1, triggers lawsuit from landlord

It's the little things, like a newspaper's giant sign, that matter in life.
April 07, 2018 10:45AM

(Credit from back: Lisa Andres, Frits Ahlefeldt)

You know it’s serious when a landlord sues over $1.

The owner of the Tribune Tower, a joint venture entity between Los Angeles developer CIM Group and Chicago’s Golub & Co., is contesting the assertion of their long-time tenant, the Chicago Tribune, that it owns its eponymous signage on the exterior of the building by filing a lawsuit against the paper, as the Tribune reported.

The developers’ suit claims they “acquired the building with the expectation that the rare and special sign bearing the name ‘Chicago Tribune’ would remain as a roof installation” and the JV would be “irreparably harmed” if the Tribune took the sign away when the newspaper vacates the building this coming June.

CIM and Golub bought the tower in 2016 for $240 million and said that the lease, carried over from the previous owner Tribune Media and signed by the Chicago Tribune’s parent company, Tronc, includes a provision that gives them, as the building owner, the right to buy the sign for $1.

The developers plan on redeveloped the 1925 tower into a mixed-use complex with a hotel, retail and residential space, though plans have not been released.

Whether Tronc plans to take up the fight is unclear, though the company told the newspaper in a statement that “Tronc’s interest is always preserving its intellectual property rights and controlling the use of its historical Chicago Tribune name.” [Chicago Tribune]Erin Hudson