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Willis Tower Could Sell For $1.5 Billion

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 4, 2015 3:00PM

Photo by fatalysis
Nothing is official yet but it looks as though the tallest building in Chicago could have new ownership in a blockbuster deal.

Per Crain's Chicago Business, a possible sale of Willis Tower could set a record at $1.5 billion.

“The owners of 110-story Willis Tower have hired Eastdil Secured to seek a sale, according to an offering book that already has been given to potential buyers. The property’s owners are being advised in the deal by Chicago-based Stephen Livaditis and New York-based Douglas Harmon, senior managing directors at Eastdil, according to the materials.

“A venture of New York investors Joseph Chetrit and Joseph Moinian and Skokie-based American Landmark Properties bought the 110-story tower for $840 million in 2004, then a city record. It was known as Sears Tower at the time.”

The timing of the rumored sale is ideal as downtown commercial real estate values are booming and several other skyscrapers have either sold or could follow Willis on the market, including Aon Center. But does a potential Willis sale dictate its value? That's always been hard to determine but an ambitious developer would surely want to maximize the property's worth.

"But because of its huge size and unusually broad sources of revenue, experts say Willis Tower's value is more difficult to pinpoint than a traditional office property.

"Eastdil's book estimates 2015 net operating income could reach $88.6 million: $48.7 million for office, retail and restaurant space; $28.8 million from the 103rd floor Skydeck, which features the Ledge tourist attraction, and $11.1 million from broadcast space and antennas atop the building.

"A new owner also could develop a large hotel on land on the southwest side of the property.

The building is 84 percent leased with United Airlines and Schiff Hardin law firm as its biggest tenants. British insurance broker Willis Group Holdings Ltd. bought naming rights to the building in 2009, a move that still doesn't sit well with Chicagoans.

Built in 1973 and christened Sears Tower, Willis was the tallest building in the world for 23 years and named the second tallest before that designation went to New York's One World Trade Center.