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Hines Buying WGN Studios, Sinking Deep Roots Into North Center

2501 West Bradley Place

Developer Hines made headlines by agreeing this month to pay about $100M for the Bradley Business Center, a renovated campus in North Center. But the Houston-based builder of Chicago’s 60-story Salesforce Tower appears ready to sink even deeper roots into the neighborhood.

The company also entered into an agreement this month to pay about $30.5M for WGN Studios, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The office property and television studios for WGN at 2501 West Bradley Place are just across the street from the center.

Sellers of the 23-acre, 466K SF Bradley Business Center are likely coming away with a big profit. The group, which included Chicago developer John McLinden, bought the former industrial and office property vacated in 2006, and filled it with tenants, eventually spending about $40M on the rehab effort, according to a July report in Crain’s Chicago Business.

The owners of WGN Studios are also getting a nice payday. R2 Cos. bought the 132K SF building and its 10 acres from Tribune Media in 2017 for $22.2M, according to a column by Robert Feder. Cook County property records show the buyer took out a $12M mortgage on the property.  

Hines could seek a major expansion on the Bradley Business Center site, which, according to Crain’s, is zoned for up to 1.6M SF of development.