A bellweather office complex that symbolized a media empire, Chicago's place in the television industry and the fortunes of the city's most well-known media personality will be closing at the end of the year, according to the Tribune. Oprah's Harpo Studios, which had already seen shrinking workloads since the popular TV host moved west, will close and follow her to Hollywood in December, a shift expected to cost Chicago 200 television and production jobs. At its peak, 580 people worked at Harpo. The closing comes at a time when the West Loop is experiencing a commerical real estate boom, and raises the question of what role the facility will play in the neighborhood's future.
Sterling Bay, whose 1K Fulton and Fulton West projects are poised to become marquee commercial spaces over the next few years, purchased the campus in 2014 for $30.5 million. Harpo currently leases two of four buildings on campus, with streaming network 120 Sports taking up a 17,000-square-foot space, but the prime location would make it desirable to any potential tenants looking for new office space. A unique facility blocks from the forthcoming Google office raises plenty of interesting redevelopment possibilities.