The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

End of an Era: Harpo Studios Signs Removed from West Loop Building

By Stephanie Lulay | January 5, 2016 4:48pm | Updated on January 5, 2016 7:31pm
 The iconic sign from the Harpo Studios building was removed Monday in the West Loop.
The iconic sign from the Harpo Studios building was removed Monday in the West Loop.
View Full Caption
West Central Association

WEST LOOP — Marking the end of an era, the sign that hung from the Harpo Studios building in the West Loop was removed Monday.

The iconic sign's removal at West Washington Boulevard and North Carpenter Street comes after Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios closed for good in December.

The signs at the site are being removed by a crew hired by Harpo Productions and will be stored at storage facility, confirmed an OWN spokesperson.


So long, #harpostudios @thatrobyn #endofanera #chicago #westloop @slulay2 @dnainfochi

A photo posted by Susana Darwin (@susanadarwin) on

Now the the last signs of Oprah's empire are being removed from the West Loop, what's next for the massive 3½-acre site?

While developer Sterling Bay declined to answer questions about the site's sign or redevelopment this week, renderings leaked in June 2015 show the largest studio building on the campus would be demolished.

On Randolph Street, the renderings show large retail or restaurant area being developed.

Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) said Tuesday that top Sterling Bay executives have not pitched him a plan for the site yet.

"I haven't heard anything yet," Burnett said. "They haven't set anything concrete."

Harpo Studios announced in March 2015 that Winfrey would not renew the lease on the lot, meaning the longtime home of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and many other TV shows would leave the site.

Harpo's move from Chicago to a new state-of-the-art studio in West Hollywood comes after the OWN Network moved to a new location on The Lot in California.

Oprah's — and Harpo's — move from Chicago began when Winfrey filmed her last episodes of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2011. The set subsequently housed "The Rosie Show," hosted by Rosie O'Donnell, for less than a year.

In March 2014, Winfrey announced she had sold Harpo Studios to West Loop-based developer Sterling Bay for $32 million.

At the time of the sale, Burnett said the studio helped put the once-gritty West Loop "on the map."

"Oprah helped define the neighborhood. She put it on the map. Sometimes when I go jogging, people ask me to stop to take a picture of them in front of the Harpo sign," said Burnett. "It's a safe and cool area, and she was an early pioneer. We're grateful to her."

In March 2015, Winfrey told the Hollywood Reporter that she had spent more hours in the Harpo Studios building "than I have any other building on Earth."

"We were here when there was nothing but hoes and rats on the street, and now it's one of the hottest neighborhoods [in Chicago]," she said.

Before it became home to Winfrey's studio in 1988, the largest building on the Harpo campus was formerly a cold storage warehouse, temporary morgue, armory and roller skating rink, according to the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Developer Belgravia Group plans to build a six-story, 70-condominium building near the Harpo Studios site this year. The new development will displace A&A Automobile Service, a longtime auto repair shop at 1045 W. Washington Blvd.

Oprah's Harpo Studios sign at Randolph and Carpenter in 2015. [DNAinfo/Mark Konkol]

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: