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Oprah Winfrey to sell Harpo Studios in Chicago

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Monday, March 17, 2014 - 8:56 am

CHICAGO — Oprah Winfrey is selling Harpo Studios in Chicago to a developer, but the studio will remain on the property for another two years.

Winfrey filmed "The Oprah Winfrey Show" at the studio from 1990 to 2011, when she ended the talk show to start the Oprah Winfrey Network on cable.

"We have entered into a purchasing agreement with Sterling Bay for the four-building Harpo Studios campus in Chicago's West Loop," Harpo told Crain's Chicago Business in a statement. "We expect the transaction to be closed in 30 days. The property will be leased back to Harpo for two years and the studio will continue to produce programming for OWN."

About 200 people work at the 3.5-acre campus, which will sell for about $32 million, Crain's reported Sunday. Harpo said it expects to close the transaction in 30 days.

Winfrey first came to Chicago in 1984 to WLS-TV's morning talk show, "A.M. Chicago." A month later, the show was No. 1 in the market and renamed "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 1985.

Winfrey moved to Harpo Studios in 1990 and is credited with transforming the once-gritty industrial area to a neighborhood filled with families and trendy restaurants.

In 2011, then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley named the street outside Harpo Studios "Oprah Winfrey Way."