The Wrigley Building has been sold to BDT Capital Partners, a Chicago-based investment and advisory firm headed by banker Byron Trott.
The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. confirmed the sale, which includes 443 Wabash Ave., a 1.5-acre lot. Terms were not disclosed, aside from a provision that the building will retain its name in perpetuity.
"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," Trott said in a statement. "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."
Groupon co-founders Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky and Zeller Realty Group are minority partners in the deal. BDT is a tenant in the Zeller building across the street.
The building is expected to remain used as office space, but Zeller will be spearheading a substantial renovation project, including of the two towers and the public plaza that separates them. Neither Groupon nor any company affiliated with Lightbank, which Keywell and Lefkofsky also co-founded, have immediate plans to relocate to the building.
"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," Paul Zeller, president of Zeller Realty Group, said in a statement. "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 buyers are working with Chicago to have the building designated as a landmark.
The iconic skyscraper, known for its clock tower and graded white terra cotta facade, has been the Wrigley Co.'s home for nearly a century.
"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," Wrigley CFO Reuben Gamoran said in a statement. "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."
In July the maker of Orbit, 5 and Extra chewing gums announced plans to leave the building by the end of 2012. About 250 employees at the company's global headquarters will move to Wrigley's Goose Island campus. The company began shifting to the more modern environs in 2005.
Wrigley has acknowledged the need for extensive renovation for the 450,000-square-foot building, which is currently 60 percent occupied. Absent Wrigley, occupancy would be about 35 percent.
Trott, an investment banker who spent most of his career at Goldman Sachs, is best known for his work with Warren Buffett, particularly his facilitation of Buffett's $4.1 billion investment in Goldman during the financial crisis of 2008.
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