DOWNTOWN — A sale of one of the city's most famous buildings will likely take theTribune out of the Tribune Tower.
Los Angeles-based developer CIM Group reached a deal to buy the venerable neo-Gothic tower at 435 N. Michigan Ave. for up to $240 million, Tribune Media, the company that owns the building, announced Tuesday.
The newspaper, now part of a separate firm called Tronc, has a lease that runs through 2018 and has "no immediate plans to leave early," according to a Tribune account of the sale.
Peter Liguori, the CEO of Tribune Media, which also includes dozens of broadcast stations as well as the company's real estate holdings, said, "Although we are selling the Tower, the operational headquarters of Tribune Media will remain in the city."
"As the buyer intends to repurpose the Tower, we will be transitioning our Chicago staff to new space over an extended period of months — likely in the second quarter of 2017," he said.
Tribune Media hired a real estate firm last year to sell the tower in an attempt to monetize its real estate assets, but observers believed then that the paper would lease back some or all of its space.
CIM — which also bought and redeveloped the Block 37 shopping mall in the Loop — will pursue a redevelopment of the landmarked 35-story tower in earnest, though CIM's plans for the building and an adjacent parking lot are unknown. There has been speculation that a high-rise could be built on the parking lot site. The Tribune reported that a mixed use future was likely.
A company spokeswoman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
The tower has been home to the Tribune since it opened in 1925. It's well known for its distinctive Gothic crown and historic artifacts embedded into its ground-floor facade. WGN radio, part of Tribune Media, is also in the Tower.
The tower is a permanent fixture Downtown because of its landmark status and the newspaper and radio station's departure would mark the end of an era. Some local journalists took to social media Tuesday to share how they felt:
Sad day: Tribune Media selling Tribune Tower 2 CIM Group 4 $240 million. CIM will "repurpose" bldg. Staff likely out by 2nd quarter, 2017.— Blair Kamin (@BlairKamin) August 30, 2016
News of Trib Tower sale is, somehow, gutting. I loved that effed up building and its blatant multi-war-crime-acquired facade, somehow.— Anne Elizabeth Moore (@superanne) August 30, 2016
Tribune Media actually sold the Tribune Tower. And Chicago Tribune will only get to stay until 2018 at the latest. #EndOfAnEra— Strannik (@Strannik_REB45) August 30, 2016
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