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McDonald's Plans To Move Headquarters To Old Harpo Studios Lot: Report

By Stephanie Lulay | June 1, 2016 7:06pm
 Oprah's Harpo Studios put the West Loop on the map.
Oprah's Harpo Studios put the West Loop on the map.
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DNAinfo/ Mark Konkol

WEST LOOP — One of the world's largest fast food chains, McDonald's, is making plans to move to the former Harpo Studios campus in the West Loop, according to a report. 

According to Crain's Chicago, McDonald's is in advanced negotiations with West Loop-based developer Sterling Bay to move its headquarters to a more-than 300,000-square-foot building the developer plans to build on Randolph Street at the former Harpo Studios in Fulton Market. Crain's Chicago attributes the report to sources familiar with the deal. 

A Sterling Bay spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday. 

While Sterling Bay has previously declined to answer questions about the site's redevelopment, 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 with office space. 

McDonald's corporate employees are now located at a campus in suburban Oak Brook. The company was poised to take over 350,000-square-feet at One Prudential Plaza downtown last year before backing out of the deal, according to Crain's Chicago, and also has office space in River North.  

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 relocated to 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, Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) 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."

Iconic signs that hung from the Harpo Studios building were removed in January. The studio closed for good in December 2015.

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

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