Oprah Says Goodbye to Harpo Studios
A deal with a Chicago developer for the West Side studio campus will close a chapter on Winfrey's Windy City tenure.
It's been an off-screen real estate contest between Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey, two larger-than-life personalities uprooting from Chi-Town. Jordan is looking (everywhere) for a buyer of his 56,000-square-foot b-ballers' dream estate, and there's a luxe penthouse repped by ex-wife Juanita on the market as part of a bruising $168 million divorce settlement. But it's the Big O that's scoring points.
Last year we reported on conversations to sell Harpo Studios, home to the mighty O's production since 1988. What began as divestment last October is now a done deal: Chicago's Sterling Bay Companies has nabbed the Washington Blvd. four-building, 170,000-square-foot complex in a sale-leaseback contract that will maintain the television studio's presence in the (now) hip and gentrified Near West Side over the next two years. (Winfrey's contagious "It Factor" is credited with luring neighbors such as Google to park offices in a once sketchy section of town.)
Winfrey, who returned to feature films last year in a critically acclaimed role opposite Forrest Whitaker in The Butler, moved her base of operation for the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) to Los Angeles in 2011. But she still held a toe-hold in Chicago. Now she's been on a quiet tear to cut ties and get out of town. No mention yet whether her holdings in Indiana will become part of the real estate goodbye letter and she took a hit in 2013 on the Oprah Store retail spot, selling at $875,000, a loss. And lastly, she has her custom 56-floor, 9,625-square-foot Gold Coast Water Tower Place duplex listed for $7.75 million.
She's bailing from the Midwest, people. Now the question remains: Who will sell their remaining massive properties first? Oprah Winfrey or Michael Jordan?
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