Chicago's Landmark Wrigley Building Sold

Commercial News » Commercial Real Estate Edition | By Michael Gerrity | September 20, 2011 8:38 AM ET

The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company today announced that it has sold the Wrigley Building to a consortium of investors led by BDT Capital Partners that includes Zeller Realty Group, Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell personally, as minority investors.

"The Wrigley Building is an iconic Chicago asset in a premier Chicago location on Michigan Avenue and is a meaningful symbol of the city's rich history and growth," said Byron D. Trott, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer for BDT Capital Partners.  "We are committed to the success and re-development of this architectural treasure to ensure that it remains a vital part of Chicago's future economic progress. Consistent with the business model of BDT Capital Partners, we are partnering with other family business and entrepreneurial leaders to preserve the long-term legacy of the Wrigley Building."

"It has been our commitment to secure new ownership for the Wrigley Building that will ensure its best possible future use and protect the building's historic legacy," said Reuben Gamoran, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Wrigley.  "We are confident that we have found a new owner who shares that commitment and will ensure the Wrigley Building remains a dynamic part of Michigan Avenue while preserving its unique architecture and historic name."

Chicago-based Zeller Realty Group will play a significant role in revitalizing the property, most importantly spearheading a comprehensive physical renovation of the office buildings as asset and development manager. As a part of the renovation plan, the consortium intends to make improvements to the plaza between the two buildings and better optimize existing ground-floor retail in both buildings. Zeller will also function as marketing & leasing agent and property manager.

"We look forward to partnering with BDT Capital Partners and the other important members of this consortium to reinvigorate this notable Chicago skyscraper to give it a vibrant 21st century environment while celebrating its architecture and tradition, which has existed for close to a century," said Paul Zeller, President, Zeller Realty Group. "Our company has a strong record of careful stewardship of historically significant properties, and we are certain that the Wrigley Building will remain a proud symbol of Chicago's architecture and history."

The consortium has recently begun dialogue with the City of Chicago regarding landmark designation for the property and looks forward to working further with the City regarding this designation.

The Wrigley Company will continue to lease space in the building through the end of 2012, while it relocates its Global Headquarters to the company's campus on Goose Island.  Neither Groupon nor any of the companies affiliated with Lightbank, co-founded by Lefkofsky and Keywell, have immediate plans to relocate into the Wrigley Building.

The sale includes both the 460,000 sq ft Wrigley Building and 443 Wabash, an adjoining 1.5 acre lot.  The price and terms of the deal are not being disclosed. The terms of transaction retain the building's name in perpetuity. The transaction was supported by Jones Lang LaSalle and DLA Piper.

Even though the price was not disclosed, several industry experts say that due to high vacancy rates in the building, the estimate the sales price was in the low to mid $40 million range.

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