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Willis Tower Sale Could Fetch Record-Shattering $1.5 Billion

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With the second tallest building in North America on the market, Chicago's run of blockbuster real estate deals may soon reach its peak. According to a late-breaking Crain's story last night, the owner of the Willis Tower have put the iconic skyscraper up for sale, and estimates suggest they could command $1.5 billion in today's red-hot real estate market. That would eclipse other titanic sales from the last year, such as the $850 million deal for 300 North LaSalle or the OneEleven apartment sale on Wacker Drive. No word yet if reverting the name back to Sears may be part of the deal.

That princely sum, which comes to $400 per square foot, could be a good deal, but the scope of the Willis Tower, both in terms of sheer size and array of revenue streams, makes it hard to pinpoint. Occupancy rates have moved from 75 to 84 percent in the last few years, and the Crain's piece suggests that new owners could draw from many different pool of potential income, including retail, the Skydeck and even a future hotel that could be built on the southwest side of the property.

The 110-story building's last sale in 2004, when investors Joseph Chetrit, Joseph Moinian and American Landmark Properties in Skokie teamed up to buy what was then called the Sears Tower, also broke records when it changed hands for $840 million. Designed by Bruce Graham and Fazlur Rahman Khan of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the tower was the tallest of its day and introduced a bundled tube construction concept that's been a foundation for other super-tall structures, including the Burj Khalifa.

·Willis Tower's on the market—and could fetch $1.5 billion [Crain's]
·Previous Willis Tower coverage [Curbed Chicago]