Blackstone to buy former Sears Tower in Chicago for $1.3bn

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Blackstone to buy former Sears Tower in Chicago for $1.3bn
Photograph © M Spencer Green/AP

The Blackstone Group LP agreed on Monday to buy the Willis Tower, the former Sears Tower that for 25 years was the world’s largest building, in a deal that features an observation deck as a tourist attraction and unique revenue stream.

The acquisition was valued at $1.3bn, making it the highest price paid for a US office tower outside of New York, according to MarketWatch, which first reported the news.

The 110-story Willis Tower at 233 South Wacker Drive is the second-tallest US office building, and the fifth-tallest office building in the world, Blackstone said in a news release.

“From a risk-adjusted return basis, it’s very attractive, especially with what’s going on in other marketplaces,” said Ken Riggs, president of Situs RERC, which does valuations of commercial real estate.

“Even though it’s an old building, it’s an iconic building. It’s in the West Loop, which I view as a market that has very strong long-term potential,” Riggs said.

Blackstone agreed to buy the property, which features a top Chicago tourist attraction in the Skydeck on the 103rd floor, from New York investors Joseph Chetrit and Joseph Moinian and American Landmark Properties based in Skokie, Illinois, MarketWatch said. ….