Chicago’s Esquire Theater Sells for $176M

by Scott Reid

CHICAGO — The Esquire Theater, a former movie house built in 1938 and currently home to an upscale steakhouse and luxury retailers located on Chicago’s Gold Coast, has sold for $176 million, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune first reported the sale, which according to Cook County records closed at the end of February, last week.

Ponte Gadea, a Spanish investment group led by Amancio Ortega, the fashion tycoon behind the Zara brand, purchased the property from Chicago-based DRW Trading Group.

DRW redeveloped the theater three years ago into a retail complex with tenants that include Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Dolce & Gabbana, Tom Ford and Christian Louboutin. The property is fully leased.

Mark Hunt, a principal at Chicago-based M Development, had purchased the building in 2002 for $13.5 million, according to county records. The movie theater closed in 2006, and DRW purchased the property after Anglo Irish Bank began proceedings in August 2009 to foreclose on the property.

According to Crain’s, Cushman & Wakefield leased the property and was the sole broker in the acquisition.

According to a Tribune source, Ponte Gadea purchased 48,000 square feet from DRW, including the theater and adjacent new construction. The transaction equals $3,667 per square foot.

According to a Bloomberg report, Amancio Ortega, founder of Spanish fashion company Inditex, which includes brands such as Zara and Massimo Dutti, possesses a real estate portfolio worth as much as $10 billion, and, according to Forbes, has a net worth of $67.7 billion.

DRW is a principal trading firm founded in 1992 and led by Don Wilson, Jr. The firm also has offices in London, Montreal, New York, Singapore and San Francisco.

— Scott Reid

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