Ty Warner, who founded and runs Beanie Babies manufacturer Ty Inc., reportedly has gone to contract to purchase the Chicago Spire's penthouse unit, which had been on the market for $40 million.


Chicago's WGN-TV broke the story this morning, and the Chicago Tribune's business reporter Mary Ellen Podmolik followed up with a lengthy piece later on today about Warner's purchase of the 10,000-square-foot duplex penthouse unit, which would be on the 141st and 142nd stories of the 150-story Chicago Spire, to rise at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. If Warner ever closes on the unit (and that's still an if -- the building is just a hole in the ground right now) for anywhere near its $40 million asking price, it would easily shatter all Chicago-area records for home sales.

Some other interesting facts not reported elsewhere:

--Right now, Chicago's record sale price for a *condo* only was paid by actor Vince Vaughn, who purchased three floors in Chicago's Palmolive building in 2006 for $12 million.

--The highest residential floor in the world right now is also in Chicago, on the 92nd floor of the John Hancock building. Although no one you've ever heard of resides on that floor, the 91st floor -- one level below that -- can boast that its most famous resident is none other than Jerry Springer.

--Wikipedia helpfully tells readers that Warner owns two other houses -- one in Oak Brook, Ill. and one in Montecito, Calif. Some further details: Warner's longtime house in Oak Brook measures 4,501 square feet, was built in 1979 and is in that village's Ginger Creek subdivision. His far more substantial Montecito mansion has seven bedrooms and 14,000 square feet and is part of an increasing number of his real estate holdings on The Fairway and Channel Drive in Montecito, along the ocean and just east of the Santa Barbara. The Los Angeles Times' Ruth Ryon wrote back in 2003 about Warner's purchase of his $22 million main house on The Fairway in Montecito.