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McDonald’s moving headquarters to Harpo Studios site: report

McDonald's headquarters in Oak Brook. | Sun-Times file photo

McDonald’s will move its headquarters to the former Harpo Studios site in Chicago from the corporation’s longtime campus in Oak Brook, Crain’s Chicago Business reported Wednesday.

The fast-food titan is “near” a deal for the Fulton Market site that once was home to Oprah Winfrey’s media empire, Crain’s reported, citing sources close to the negotiations.

“We’re not going to speculate and when we have information to share it will be with our employees first,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Becca Hary said in an email.

Representatives of Sterling Bay, which purchased the West Randolph Street site from Winfrey in 2014, did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Oak Brook has been home to McDonald’s headquarters and the “Hamburger University” training facility since the 1970s, when the company relocated from offices in Chicago’s Loop.

The company plans to build a 300,000-square-foot office at the former Harpo site, Crain’s reported. Winfrey shut down her West Loop operation last year, about four years after relocating her television and film production company to California.

Last year, McDonald’s was close to signing a lease for office space at One Prudential Tower but backed out of the deal. The company last year leased office space for its digital operations team in River North, a move intended to change the corporate culture and make it easier to attract tech-savvy workers who prefer city living.

Oak Brook Village President Gopal Lalmalani said he had been aware of rumors that McDonald’s was looking for office space downtown, but said he had heard nothing of a pending move.

“I don’t know if they would have room to move all of their operations to Chicago,” Lalmalani said. “They have a very large campus in Oak Brook. They have been a very strong partner for many years, and we hope they stay in Oak Brook.”