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Deal reached to keep Chicago Tribune sign on Trib Tower condo redevelopment

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The iconic riverfront lettering will remain a fixture above Pioneer Court

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The developers behind Tribune Tower’s ongoing renovation from offices to luxury condominiums reached an agreement with the Chicago Tribune to keep the publication’s famous signage on its former Michigan Avenue building. On Friday, real estate firms CIM Group and Golub & Company and the newspaper’s parent company, Tronc, settled a lawsuit filed this spring regarding the sign’s ownership and placement, reported the Tribune late last week.

Tronc believed that the sign was its trademarked intellectual property while the development team argued that the 8-foot-tall Gothic lettering was a “roof installation” rightfully included in its $240 million acquisition of the property in 2016. The newspaper vacated its namesake building for new offices at nearby Prudential Plaza in June and announced its intention to remove the sign.

Although the two parties have agreed to end their legal dispute, the iconic sign overlooking Pioneer Court and the Chicago River will still be removed later this year. It will return in early 2020, just before the 1925 building reopens as condos. The logo will be incorporated into a new seventh-floor amenity level with an outdoor terrace and enclosed pool serving the tower’s planned 163 residential units.

The sign will return to the roof of Tribune Tower’s plant building overlooking Pioneer Court and the Chicago River in 2020.
Golub & Co./CIM Group

News of the legal resolution was accompanied by an update regarding the possible timing of Tribune Tower’s second phase redevelopment—an ambitious 1,422-foot-tall skyscraper slated for the parking lot east of the old tower. CIM and Golub plan to submit their zoning application to the city in September and aim to break ground in late 2019, according to the recent Tribune report.

Designed by Chicago’s Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the slender phase two tower calls for 200 hotel rooms, 439 rental units, and 125 condominiums. If approved at its proposed height, the new skyscraper would claim the title of Chicago’s second-tallest building—rising just 29 feet shy of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. It leads a new class of very tall buildings that will reshape Chicago’s world famous skyline.

A rendering of the proposed 1,422-foot supertall addition to Tribune Tower.
Golub & Co./CIM Group