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Blackstone to buy former Sears Tower for $1.3 billion

Blackstone Group LP agreed to acquire the Willis Tower, the former Sears Tower that was the world’s largest building for 25 years, in a deal that features an observation deck as a tourist attraction. The purchase is valued at $1.3 billion, making it the highest prices paid for a U.S. office tower outside of New York. The tower has 110 floors, located at 223 South Wacker Drive; it is second tallest U.S. office building with 3.8 million square feet of space. Blackstone agreed to buy the property from New York investor Joseph Chetrit and Joseph Moinian and Skokie.

The Skydeck at the tower attracts 1.6 million visitors annually, something Blackstone hopes to build on. The Skydeck includes the, “Ledge” which gives an unobscured downward view because of the see through flooring.

Jacob Werner, a 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.” He also said, “We see great potential in further improving both the building’s retail operations and the tourist experience.”