Blackstone grabs Willis Tower in Chicago for $1.3 billion

Blackstone grabs Willis Tower in Chicago for $1.3 billion

Blackstone Group LP has acquired the second tallest building in the country, the Willis Tower in Chicago. The deal has been signed for $1.3 billion and has been confirmed by Blackstone officials. The 110-story building was jointly owned by New York-based investors Joseph Chetrit and Joseph Moinian and American Landmark Properties Limited.

The iconic building was earlier known as Sears Towers and had remained the tallest building in the world for 25 years. According to MarketWatch, the price paid by Blackstone Group is the highest for any office building outside New York till date.

With 0.35 million square meters of office space, Willis Tower is also a popular attraction in Chicago with its Skydeck on floor 103. The Skydeck attracts 1.6 million visitors each year. The price paid by Blackstone Group is among the lowest in terms of per square foot ($340 per sq foot).

Confirming the deal, Jacob Werner, managing director in Blackstone's real estate group, said, "We are bullish on Chicago as companies expand within and move into the city and look for first-class office space. We see great potential in further improving both the building's retail operations and the tourist experience."

The current owners of Willis Tower paid $841 million for the property in 2004.

Blackstone Group is aiming to raise $15 billion for its latest real estate fund named Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII. In January, Blackstone sold an office tower in Manhattan for $2.2 billion to a group of investors including Canada’s Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc.

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