Willis Tower to be sold to Blackstone for record $1.3 billion

Second-largest skyscraper in the US to be sold to real estate conglomerate

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The iconic Chicago skyscraper Willis Tower – formerly called Sears Tower – will soon be changing hands, as real estate firm Blackstone has revealed it will pay $1.3 billion for the building, the Wall Street Journal reported.

If the sale price is correct, it will be the most ever paid for a US office tower outside of New York and would surpass the current Chicago record of $850 million.

 

“We are bullish on Chicago as companies expand within and move into the city and look for first-class office space,” Jacob Werner, a managing director in Blackstone's real estate group, said in a statement. “Moreover, we see great potential in further improving both the building's retail operations and the tourist experience for one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Chicago.”

Blackstone reportedly is planning to improve the Willis Tower’s retail offerings, as well as revamping the Skydeck on the tower’s 103rd floor, especially aimed at tourists. The Empire State Building in New York City makes about $90 million per year from tourists, according to reports.

 

The 108-story building was finished in 1973 and was the tallest building in the world for nearly 25 years. The skyscraper is now the 12th-tallest building in the world and the second-tallest in the US. It was renamed Willis Tower in 2009.

 

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