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Deal reached to upgrade Wrigley Building plaza

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joins other officials Wrigley Building plaz June 5 2012.  Under proposed ordinance building's owners would pay

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joins other officials at the Wrigley Building plaza, June 5, 2012. Under a proposed ordinance, the building's owners would pay $2 million for plaza renovations. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

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Updated: October 15, 2012 9:40AM

The public plaza connected to the landmark Wrigley Building will be renovated with private money under an ordinance introduced Wednesday to the City Council.

The proposal by Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) represents an agreement with the building’s owners to fund the estimated $2 million in work while letting the city retain control of the plaza. The owners will benefit from the work because they can add access to retailers from the plaza.

Gum maker Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. sold its iconic headquarters last year to a group that includes Groupon Inc. founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, BDT Capital Partners and Zeller Realty Group. It got official landmark designation this year, which carries a property tax break.

“As the owners are investing in restoring and upgrading this beautiful building, it was only fitting that the public plaza be restored and refreshed as well,” said Reilly, who represents most of downtown.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel backed the proposal, saying the plaza needs major work.

The plaza is a pedestrian walkway between the two Wrigley towers at 400 N. Michigan. It spans over North Water Street and, with a connection to Trump Tower, provides access to and from Wabash.

The ordinance grants the building owners 50-year easement rights to the plaza while requiring them to maintain it. The city keeps its permit authority for any plaza activities.

The Wrigley company is expected to move out by yearend, leaving the owners with about 250,000 square feet to fill with new tenants.

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