Harper Court sale allows University to ensure continuing community benefits

The University of Chicago has sold the mixed-use development Harper Court to Clal Insurance Company and its affiliated companies, in a transaction that will allow the University to continue to ensure the success and community benefits of the project.

Clal, a publicly traded insurance company and pension fund manager, is one of Israel’s largest financial institutions with more than $40 billion in assets under management. Clal paid $112 million for the retail and office complex that anchors revitalization efforts on 53rd Street.  The city of Chicago approved the transaction, which closed on July 25.

As part of the transaction, the University signed a long-term master lease for all office retail and parking space in Harper Court and will sublease space to the other current and future tenants. University officials said the arrangement allows them to continue working with a leasing agent to seek the mix of nationally and locally owned businesses identified by the community as important to the neighborhood. The University also will be able to ensure that Harper Court’s success continues to direct jobs and economic opportunity to South Side residents. Tenants in Harper Court include the University of Chicago, LA Fitness, Starbucks, Chipotle and others.

The University and the city, in consultation with residents and local leaders, launched the Harper Court project in 2008. After its completion in November 2013, University officials said they intended to seek a long-term owner for Harper Court that would support the community amenities and economic opportunities that motivated the development. Clal, they said this week, offers stability and experience in mixed-used commercial developments.

The University has invested substantially in Harper Court and complementary projects along 53rd Street, as well as in the vitality of other parts of Hyde Park and surrounding neighborhoods, and is committed to continuing those efforts to promote economic opportunity and community amenities in the mid-South Side, officials said.