Staff WriterMarch 16 report released by the Associated Press (AP), Oprah Winfrey will be selling Harpo Studios in Chicago to developer Sterling Bay Companies. Harpo Studios is comprised of a four-building campus located on the West Side of Chicago. The terms of agreement for this sale involve a leaseback transaction, which will allow the studio to remain at the current location for another two years. News of the sale was first announced on March 15, when a spokeswoman for Harpo confirmed the sale of the 3.5-acre property in a statement to Crain’s Chicago Business. The deal is expected to close in 30 days, but the studio will continue producing programming for the LA-based Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) for at least two years. According to a Crain’s report, about 200 people work at the campus, which is expected to sell for about $32 million. Winfrey first moved to Chicago in 1984 to host WLS-TV’s morning talk show, A.M. Chicago. The show immediately received consistently high ratings, and was number one on the market after only a month. A.M Chicago was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1985. Winfrey founded Harpo Productions, Inc. in 1986. That year, she moved The Oprah Winfrey Show to the former Studio Network Inc. TV and film production facility at 1068 W. Washington Blvd. Winfrey bought and renovated the 88,000-square-foot complex with a small team of investors, and Harpo Studios was opened in 1990. Winfrey is credited with transforming that neighborhood from a gritty industrial area to a residential neighborhood with trendy restaurants and shops. In 2011, the street outside Harpo Studios was renamed "Oprah Winfrey Way" by Chicago's then-Mayor Richard Daley. The Oprah Winfrey Show was filmed at the studio from 1990 to 2011. The decision to divest the campus – the last of Winfrey’s commercial real estate in the Windy City – began last October, and represents Winfrey’s final step out Chicago. In 2011, Winfrey left Chicago to form the Oprah Winfrey Network in Los Angeles.
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