Sears Tower

Photo: Aurimas/Flickr

Blackstone Group LP is in advanced talks to buy Willis Tower, Chicago’s tallest tower and the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, for a record $1.5 billion.

Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the 110-story skyscraper reaches 1,450 feet tall and encompasses nearly 3.8 million square feet of office space. If the deal goes through, the sale would mark the highest price ever paid for a building in Chicago, Bloomberg reported. The city record for most expensive property is currently held by 300 N. LaSalle Street, which sold for $850 million to Irvine Co. last year, with an unprecedented price per square foot of $652.

Willis Tower last changed hands in 2004, when a group led by New York investors Joseph Chetrit and Joseph Moinian acquired the black supertall building for $841 million.

The sale of the skyscraper, built in 1973, would be the 24th office deal in US history to hit the $1 billion mark, and just the fourth outside of New York, according to Crain’s Chicago Business, which first reported on Blackstone’s preliminary talks with the seller. The property garners an estimated $10,000 of income every hour.

Brokerage Eastdil Secured is marketing the tower on behalf of the owners.

New York-based Blackstone, the world’s biggest private equity real estate owner, has raised a hefty $13 billion for its last real-estate fund, and the firm is seeking up to $15 billion for its most recent real-estate fund, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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