Blackstone buys Chicago’s Willis Tower for $1.3B

Sale is the highest ever for a US office tower outside NYC

Willis Tower in Chicago (inset: Joseph Chetrit, via Patrick McMullan)
Willis Tower in Chicago (inset: Joseph Chetrit, via Patrick McMullan)

The Blackstone Group agreed to purchase the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, in Chicago for $1.3 billion from Joseph Chetrit, Joseph Moinian and American Landmark Properties. The deal marks the highest-ever price paid for a U.S. office tower outside of New York City.

The partnership between Chetrit, Moinian and American Landmark bought the property for $841 million in 2004, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But while purchase price is impressive, the $340-per-square-foot breakdown is still modest compared to many major cities. Blackstone plans to invest $150 million more in the space and build it up as a stronger tourist attraction. While the tower hosts 1.6 million visitors per year for revenues of $25 million, the Empire State Building hosts 4.3 million visitors per year for an intake of $82 million.

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Eastdil Secured‘s Douglas Harmon represented the sellers in the deal.

In New York, Blackstone Purchased 1740 Broadway for $605 million in November and also sold the 42-story office tower at 1095 Sixth Avenue for $2.25 billion to Ivanhoe Cambridge. [WSJ] — Tess Hofmann