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Sam Zell Cashes Out Of Chicago Office Market With Triangle Plaza Sale

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Triangle Plaza, Chicago
Triangle Plaza

Sam Zell is a step away from officially being out of Chicago, but he may live on in the 2018 record books — he stands a good chance of being involved in two of the top 10 deals of the year.

Zell's Equity Commonwealth is nearing a deal to sell Triangle Plaza, near O'Hare International Airport, to The Shidler Group for $143M, Crain's Chicago Business reports.

Zell will get a strong return on investment on a building he bought eight years ago, and the pending deal marks Equity Commonwealth's exit from the Chicago office market. It would be the sixth-most expensive Chicago office sale of 2018 so far, $5M less than Angelo Gordon's $148M March sale of Presidents Plaza, another O'Hare office property.

Equity Commonwealth paid $96M for the twin, 14-story buildings at 8750 and 8770 West Bryn Mawr Ave. in 2010. The sale to Shidler continues Equity's aggressive strategy of selling lower-quality assets and amassing a war chest to redeploy in markets where the firm can find dislocation. Equity Commonwealth put Triangle Plaza on the market in September 2017, and was sitting on $2.8B in cash at the end of Q1. It completed a $510M sale of Groupon's headquarters at 600 West Chicago to Sterling Bay in February.

Zell is selling Triangle Plaza as it loses two of its largest tenants. Wilson Sporting Goods moved from Triangle Plaza to Prudential Plaza last autumn, while DePaul University announced it is closing its 39K SF space in the west tower. But part of the Wilson space was backfilled as a new headquarters for First Midwest Bank, and tool manufacturer Komatsu is moving its North American headquarters there in 2020.

The Triangle Plaza deal continues a strong bounceback year for Chicago office sales. Over $3.3B in sales were completed in the first half of 2018.