Billionaire Buys Former McDonald’s HQ Campus

The quick-service restaurant chain sold the 80-acre site in Oak Brook, Ill., to John Paul DeJoria, following the company's move to downtown Chicago last year.
Former McDonalds campus. Image courtesy of JLL

Hair-care billionaire John Paul DeJoria has scooped up the former McDonald’s campus in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook, Ill., a year after the fast food behemoth moved its global headquarters downtown.

The 80-acre site near Jorie Boulevard and 31st Street includes a 331,630-square-foot Class A office building that served as the company’s headquarters; the 130,484-square-foot Hamburger University training facility; and a 218-key Hyatt hotel. The Dirk Lohan-designed campus was completed in 1988 and McDonald’s was its sole occupant until last year, when the burger chain shifted employees to a new, 550,000-square-foot building along Randolph Street in Chicago’s West Loop. The move was completed in June 2018.

Scott Miller and Lindsey Fahey of JLL represented McDonald’s in the sale, while Perry Higa of NAI Hiffman represented the buyer. The hotel, The Hyatt Lodge, continues to operate, but otherwise it’s not clear what Paul Mitchell Systems co-founder DeJoria plans to do with his newly acquired campus. Current zoning allows for more commercial space to be built on the site.

Higa noted in a prepared statement that future plans will involve upgrading the campus to “modern, Class A standards” and maintaining the commercial buildings for corporate office, training, meeting space and other commercial uses. Other potential occupiers include medical offices and schools.

Filling a former HQ site

The scenic site boasts lakes and streams, as well as Illinois’s oldest tree, and the former headquarters building is LEED Platinum certified. The Hyatt Lodge, which is connected to the training facility by a covered passageway, is a four-level building completed in 1984 and renovated in 2012.

Working in favor of the asset is the increasingly limited supply of Class A office space on the east side of Oak Brook, a village about 15 miles west of downtown Chicago. The Oak Brook Mall area in which the campus is located has some of the highest occupancy rates across the Chicago suburbs, according to JLL.

A growing list of corporations based outside the Second City are heading downtown, in some cases leaving vacant suburban campuses in their wake. Somerset Development and Triangle Capital Group recently purchased the 150-acre former AT&T corporate campus in Hoffman Estates, with plans to transform the struggling property into a mixed-use development called a “metroburb.”