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Oprah Exploring Selling Harpo Studios Campus

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 2, 2013 4:40PM

Harpo Studios (Photo credit: Ken "artistmac" Smith)

Oprah Winfrey is further distancing herself from the city she called home for nearly 30 years. Chicago Real Estate Daily reports the former talk show queen and current television network head is considering selling her Harpo Studios campus and leasing part of it back from a prospective new owner.

The ginormous campus in the West Loop includes studios and office space at 110 N. Carpenter St., 113 N. May St., 1115 W. Washington Blvd. and 118-122 N. Aberdeen St.—a combined 170,000 square feet of space. With her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) based in Los Angeles and The Rosie O’Donnell Show no longer in production in Chicago, it makes sense Winfrey would want to cut her real estate holdings in the city.

Winfrey first revealed her intentions in a memo to employees dated Sept. 30 where she reassured them no immediate changes would happen to the network’s Chicago operations. Much of OWN’s production and post-production facilities are located in Chicago while Winfrey’s Los Angeles facilities don’t have a studio with control room or editing space.

Winfrey has retained real estate firm Eastdil Secured LLC to explore all her options on the Harpo campus and would consolidate her remaining network operations there if she does go with the sale and lease-back option. With the commercial real estate market only now beginning to rebound, this is also an ideal time for Winfrey to make such a move. Harry Huzenis, a principal at Chicago-based JRG Capital Partners LLC, told CRED the buzz in the West Loop and over the Harpo Campus in particular is “advantageous.”

Winfrey is also putting personal real estate holdings on the market but will retain a smaller home in the city. She previously rented out a Streeterville Co-op she never moved into for $15,000 a month.