Furby creator buys Evanston office tower for $32M

500 Davis Street, Downtown Evanston (Credit: Hiffman and iStock)

Toy tycoon and Furby creator Randy Rissman bought an Evanston office building for $32.35 million.

Rissman in late December picked up the127,000-square-foot office building at 500 Davis Street in Downtown Evanston, property records show. He bought the building from New York-based The Family Office, which paid $18 million for the property in 2016 — meaning Rissman paid a 77 percent increase over the previous sale price.

USAA Life Insurance Company provided a $21.5 million acquisition loan for the purchase, records show.

Rissman founded Tiger Electronics, which produced the animatronic toy known as the Furby and keychain game known as Giga Pets, among other products. He sold the company to North Shore-based Hasbro for $335 million in 1998.

Rissman went on to open Leo Capital Holdings, an investment firm whose office address is the same as the one listed on the LLC used to buy the Evanston office complex. Leo Capital Holdings makes early investments in private tech companies, according to its website. Rissman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

This isn’t Rissman’s first foray into real estate investment.

Earlier this year, Rissman paid $43 million for the building at 200 North Green Street in Fulton Market, which is anchored by a 77,000-square-foot WeWork.

He has invested heavily in the booming Near West Side neighborhoods, including paying $45 million for a six-story office building at 210 North Green Street in 2017 and buying a nine-story office building at 600 West Fulton Market for $32.2 million in 2007, according to Crain’s.

In 2017, Rissman bought the office tower at 150 North Wacker Drive for $75 million, Crain’s reported at the time.

The 10-story office building Rissman bought in Evanston was built in 1978 and underwent a renovation in 2006. The property also has a parking garage.

Nearby, R2 Companies and T2 Investments are working to develop a 13-story office tower in Downtown Evanston.

In November, Evanston voters approved a measure to raise the city’s real estate transfer tax of properties sales above $1.5 million.

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