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Michael Shvo-led group buying “Big Red” office tower for $370M

Current owners John Buck Company and Morgan Stanley bought the 45-story property for $108M in 2015.TRD CHICAGO /January 22, 2020 08:26 AMBy Brianna Kelly

John Buck (inset), Michael Shvo and 333 South Wabash Avenue (Credit: TJBC)

A partnership led by New York investor Michael Shvo is buying John Buck Company and Morgan Stanley’s “Big Red” downtown office tower for $370 million, The Real Deal has learned.

Shvo and partners Deutsche Finance and BLG are under contract to purchase the 45-story iconic red office tower at 333 South Wabash Avenue, according to a source familiar with the deal. The tower had previously been headquarters of CNA Financial.

John Buck and Morgan bought the 1.2 million-square-foot tower in 2016 for $108 million from CNA.

JLL was hired to sell the building, which went on the market in August, for $375 million.

The building is 92 percent leased, with major tenants including Northern Trust, which took over a large chunk of CNA’s old space — 400,000 square feet — and the Chicago Housing Authority. It recently underwent a significant renovation in which the owners added a 30,000-square-foot food hall managed by local restaurant group DMK.

The building, known as “Big Red” due to its vibrant facade, was built in 1972 and designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White.

After John Buck and Morgan Stanley bought the building, CNA moved its headquarters to a new 35-story office tower that the two firms built at 151 North Franklin Street.