Blackstone’s overhaul of Willis Tower to include new food hall

Urbanspace will occupy part of the 300K sf addition at the base of the skyscraper

Sep.September 10, 2018 09:00 AM

Rendering of the project and Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray

The Blackstone Group is adding a food hall to the Willis Tower as part of its $668 million renovation project at the iconic skyscraper.

Urbanspace, which already has locations in New York and London, will occupy part of the 300,000-square-foot addition at the base of the 110-story building at 233 South Wacker Drive, according to the Chicago Tribune.

New York-based Blackstone bought the tower in 2015 for $1.3 billion, at the time the most expensive office deal outside of New York City. It took out a $1 billion loan on the property last year, and then secured a $1.3 billion refinancing on it this year.

It is in the middle of a facelift for the building that will include new retail space, a fitness center, tenant lounges, updated elevators and an overhaul of the 103rd floor observation deck. The work was originally expected to cost $500 million, though Crain’s reported earlier this year that has ballooned to $668 million.

The new retail and dining annex at the base of the building, which will include the new market from London-based Urbanspace, is expected to be open by 2020. Event space provider Convene plans to open a 55,000-square-foot location inside, along with another one down the street at the Citadel Center. [Chicago Tribune] — John O’Brien

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