Oprah may have packed her bags and left Chicago, but the production studio she built in the West Loop was left behind—sitting vacant since closing for good this past December. The block-sized property was purchased a year ago for $32 million by Sterling Bay, a local developer that has been making a name for itself by sprucing up run-down properties, transforming them into high-end offices and flipping them for hefty profits. While Sterling Bay hasn't formally revealed their plans for the former Harpo Studios campus, imagery has recently been leaked onto building-watcher forums showing conceptual renderings for a whole new development on that land. From the looks of the design, Sterling Bay might be planning to take a step away from their modus operandi of rehabbing existing structures and demolish the largest building on the lot and completely replace it.
Nothing else is known about this project right now, but it's probably safe to assume it'll be commercial office space offering attractive amenities to tech companies and websites that you didn't even know had offices here. It does look like the development will front Randolph Street and will offer large retail or restaurant space, a tasty proposition for what has turned into one of the hottest restaurant districts in town. Hopefully we'll hear something official about this development soon.