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World's Tallest Building Still for Sale : Sears to Move Workers From Tower to Suburb

June 26, 1989|From Reuters

CHICAGO — Sears, Roebuck and Co. said today it will move its 6,000-employee merchandise group to the suburb of Hoffman Estates from the 110-story Sears Tower in downtown Chicago.

Sears announced last year that it would sell the tower, the world's tallest building, as part of a restructuring program undertaken after the slumping company became the target of takeover rumors.

Since then, the world's No. 1 retailer has scouted a variety of potential new sites for its merchandise group, including several in the Sun Belt, before deciding to remain in the Chicago area, its home since shortly after it was founded 103 years ago.

Sears said it will not begin moving its employees for at least 2 1/2 years, giving the company additional time to find a buyer for the headquarters building.

So far, the sale of the 16-year-old building has been going slowly, according to sources in the real estate industry.

Although about 60 prospectuses have been sent to potential buyers, the response has been only lukewarm. Several foreign investment groups have expressed some interest, but analysts now project a price of $700 million to $800 million, rather than the $1.8 billion Sears had hoped for.

Sears occupies half the 1,454-foot-tall tower, and there are concerns that the space, custom-built for the retailer, will be difficult to rent to other tenants.

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