The block-sized building at 110 N. Carpenter stands at the former site of Oprah’s Harpos Studios in the West Loop. Credit: Sterling Bay

WEST LOOP — The global pandemic hasn’t prevented prominent Chicago developer Sterling Bay from selling the McDonald’s global headquarters building for $412.5 million, the developer announced Thursday.

Sterling Bay and partner J.P. Morgan Asset Management listed the 575,000-square-foot, nine-story office building at 110 N. Carpenter St. in February. At the time, real estate experts estimated the property could fetch as much as $450 million.

Though shy of those estimates, the transaction easily shattered the record for the highest-priced property sale in the Fulton Market neighborhood. Sterling Bay had set the previous record in 2016 when it sold the Google offices at 1K Fulton for $257 million.

“Completing the sale of 110 N. Carpenter in the midst of an uncertain economic market is a testament to the city of Chicago’s ability to attract outside investment and secure important capital for its future,” Sterling Bay CEO Andy Gloor said in a statement.

Thursday’s announcement did not identify the buyer, but the Chicago Tribune reported the Pittsburgh-area investor Normandy Properties had reached a preliminary agreement with Sterling Bay to buy the site earlier this month. 

The building at 110 N. Carpenter occupies the former site of Harpo Studios which was home to the “Oprah Winfrey Show” from 1990 until 2011. Sterling Bay paid $32 million for the television campus in 2014 and demolished the studio building in 2016. 

McDonald’s moved from its headquarters in Oakbrook to the West Loop location in 2018 and has a long-term lease in the building through July 2033.

In addition to housing corporate offices for the fast-food giant and its “Hamburger University” training program, 110 N. Carpenter also includes retail tenants such as Walgreens and FedEx.

The Gensler-designed building is also home to a McDonald’s restaurant offering an international menu and the Politan Row food hall, which closed its doors due to COVID-19 and is not expected to reopen until next spring.  

Despite letting go of one of its prized properties, Sterling Bay still has an expansive footprint in Fulton Market. 

The developer recently completed a 555,000-square-foot office tower at 333 N. Green St. and has city approvals to build sizable office developments at 330 N. Green, 360 N. Green, 345 N. Morgan, 1000 W. Carroll, and 1200 W. Carroll St.

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