LA developer CIM Group agrees to buy Tribune Tower for up to $240 mn

Los Angeles-based developer CIM Group has agreed to buy Tribune Tower for up to $240 mn, in a development which will see the end of media ownership for the historic North Michigan Avenue building. The move would also clear the decks for mixed-use redevelopment of the building. 

Tribune TowerChicago developer Golub & Co bought the tower and adjacent property, in partnership with CIM, from Tribune Media. The deal, announced by Tribune Media Tuesday, would likely close by the end of September, according to the company.

In October, Chicago-based Tribune Media announced that it had hired real estate investment banker Eastdil Secured to explore an outright sale or partnership to redevelop the neo-Gothic tower. Though the building had 737,000 square feet of space, the property was zoned for up to 2.4 million square feet.

The tower built in 1925, was designed by New York architects Raymond Hood and John Mead Howells after they won a contest held by Chicago Tribune co-publishers Robert R McCormick and Joseph Patterson to create the newspaper's headquarters. The tower was named a Chicago landmark in 1989.

"Tribune Tower has been a unique part of Chicago's skyline since the 1920s," Tribune Media CEO Peter Liguori said in a news release. "It is a gem of architectural and structural accomplishment and a constant reminder of the important role that Tribune has played in the development of the city itself."

Meanwhile, given the location, historic architecture, great views and name recognition, the tower at 435 N Michigan Avenue "has everything going for it" when it comes to redevelopment, said Gail Lissner, a vice president at Chicago-based real estate consulting firm Appraisal Research Counselors.

The question was how CIM, which would also acquire a prime development site in the form of a parking lot behind the tower would go about the redevelopment to maximise its potential, according to commentators. 

The tower was currently and office building with some retail, but it could very easily be an office/retail/hotel/residential building in the near future, according to local developers.