Chicago, IL — First, Bob Johnson sold BET to Viacom. Then, Essence Magazine was sold to Time Warner. And now, Oprah Winfrey has announced that she is selling her Chicago-based Harpo Studios for $32 million to a developer. But is she really selling out, as many people are thinking? Well, not exactly.
First of all, the studio will remain on the property for another two years. This is the same 3.5 acre studio where Winfrey filmed “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for more than 20 years from 1990 to 2011; More than 200 people still currently work there.
Oprah said in a statement, “We have entered into a purchasing agreement with Sterling Bay for the four-building Harpo Studios campus in Chicago’s West Loop. 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.”
In addition to all her success in the entertainment industry, Winfrey is also credited with transforming the nearby areas to Harpo Studios. Before, the Near West Side area was run down and industrial, but her presence helped to transform it to a developed neighborhood filled with homes and trendy restaurants. Back in 2011, they mayor officially named the street outside Harpo Studios “Oprah Winfrey Way.”
‘Harpo’, if you didn’t know, is ‘Oprah’ spelled backwards, and it was also the name of her on-screen husband in The Color Purple.