French firm buys John Hancock’s observation deck
BY DAVID ROEDER Business Reporteremail@example.com July 18, 2012 3:34PM
A tourist looks out the Hancock Observatory atop the John Hancock Tower Wednesday, July 18, 2012, in Chicago | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
Updated: August 20, 2012 11:48AM
Maybe they’ll start celebrating Bastille Day in the John Hancock Center.
The 100-story tower’s observation deck has a new owner, Parisian firm Montparnasse 56 Group. The company operates two observation decks and a wildlife park in Europe.
The sellers are a partnership of Deutsche Bank AG and NorthStar Realty Finance, which took control of the Hancock’s commercial space earlier this year when it bought the property’s debt.
The sale of the 94th-floor observation deck was for between $35 million and $45 million.
Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Amanda Williams confirmed terms of the deal first reported in the Wall Street Journal.
Deutsche Bank and NorthStar have been dividing up the various uses of the building, such as the offices and broadcast antennas, for separate sales. None of the plans, however, would affect the building’s residential condominiums, which remain in private hands.
The Hancock is the fourth-tallest building in Chicago. Its location at 875 N. Michigan and views of Lake Michigan and the waterfront have made it a popular destination. Many people prefer its views to those of the taller Willis Tower.
The observatory has been renovated in the last few years to get an open-air skywalk, a café and a skating rink during the winter.
Montparnasse Vice President Eric Deutsch did not respond to requests for comment.
In 2006, a group that included Chicago’s Golub & Co. bought the Hancock’s commercial space for $380 million. They were pushed aside when Deutsche Bank and NorthStar bought the loans.