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MetLife Selling Chicago’s Sears Tower

March 12, 2004

CHICAGO (AP) _ Insurance giant MetLife announced plans to sell the Sears Tower, the nation’s tallest skyscraper, to an unspecified buyer in a deal the company says will net $90 million.

Newspapers reported Friday that MetLife, which only acquired a controlling interest in the 110-story building in downtown Chicago in August, is selling to a New York investment group.

The Chicago Tribune, citing unidentified sources, reported the sale was for $835 million and that Manhattan real-estate entrepreneurs Jeffrey Feil and Joseph Chetrit are part of the investment group. Both previously purchased Chicago office buildings.

A telephone call to Feil’s office was not immediately returned, and Chetrit could not be reached for comment. Stephen Livaditis of Eastdil Realty Co., which is handling the sale for MetLife, also did not return a phone call.

MetLife spokesman John Calagna declined to comment on the reports, citing a confidentiality agreement with the buyer. But the company said the deal will result in a $90 million after-tax gain.

MetLife has had an ownership stake in the building since 1990, but only acquired full control of the tower in August from Trizec Properties Inc., a Chicago real-estate investment trust that continues to manage it.

Post-Sept. 11 jitters about the possibility of another terrorist attack have dampened demand for office space in the 3.5-million-square-foot building, which is 88 percent occupied.

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