Groupon duo and partners reach deal for Wrigley Building
By: Alby Gallun and Thomas A. Corfman
September 16, 2011
(Crain's) — The founders of Groupon Inc. have teamed up with Zeller Realty Group to buy the Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue, a transaction that is expected to close next week, say people familiar with the transaction.
The group is buying the ornate two-tower complex at 400-410 N. Michigan Ave., along with a property immediately northwest of the building, now the site of a surface parking lot and shuttered health club. Covering a full block,
it's one of the biggest undeveloped parcels in River North.
I've always thought this dead block is a dark horse with so much potential -- it's already linked (sort of) to Upper Michigan and could be surrounded by plaza connecting it to the Trump riverwalk, and on its N / NW border by direct connections into Nordstrom and North Bridge. You'd deck over both Hubbard and Rush, and it could open up the stepchild west sides of the adjacent North Michigan office buildings to retail too. It would be synergistic with retail in the renovated Wrigley arcade (and Trump, though that's much more high-end). If chains like Best Buy want a presence on Boul Mich, I'd rather see them on this empty block next to Nordstrom, tucked away 1 block off-Michigan, than kicking Paul Stuart out of the Hancock.
Anyhow that's all in the long term. And the more relevant issue is that, since Groupon aren't property developers, I hope they don't try to do something themselves and end up just plopping a parking garage there. I'm not familiar with Zeller, but I hope they all just flip the block to John Buck or someone with complex development experience down the road.