$900M Wanda Vista M-U Project Becomes Reality

CHICAGO – An 88-story, Jeanne Gang-designed supertall is coming to Chicago’s Lakeshore East.

By Ioana Neamt, Associate Editor

Wanda Vista tower

Chicago–An 88-story, Jeanne Gang-designed supertall is coming to Chicago’s Lakeshore East. On December 18, Mayor Rahm Emanuel presided over the signing of an architect agreement between Beijing-based Wanda Group and Chicago-based Magellan Development Group to bring the mixed-use project to life.

The Wanda Vista project was first revealed in July 2014, and called for a mixed-use hotel, condominium and retail building at the intersection of East Wacker Drive and N. Field Blvd. in Chicago’s Lakeshore East neighborhood. The Wanda Group plans to invest $900 million in the project, making it the largest-ever real estate investment by a Chinese company in Chicago. According to a press release, the project will is expected to create over 2,000 construction jobs and more than 500 permanent jobs, with groundbreaking scheduled for 2016. Wanda Vista Hotel and Residence will seek LEED Silver certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

“Wanda’s decision to bring its first U.S. investment to Chicago is a major win for our city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This $900 million project is an important investment in our city’s future – not only because of its size and scope, but also because of the thousands of jobs it will create and the impact it will have in solidifying Chicago’s place as a destination for international business, tourism and transportation,” the Mayor added.

Located in the Lakeshore East neighborhood in close proximity to the Theatre District and Museum Campus, the three-tower Wanda Vista development will incorporate a five-star, 250-room hotel, 390

Wanda Vista ground level

condominiums, and approximately 9,000 square feet of retail space. The building was designed by Studio Gang Architects’ Jeanne Gang – known for designing the undulating Aqua Tower just a few blocks away – in collaboration with architect of record bKL Architecture. Initial plans originally called for an 89-story tower which would become the third tallest in the city, surpassed only by the Trump Tower and the Willis Tower. However, with recent designs calling for 88 stories, the tower’s eventual height remains unclear.

The agreement was signed by Sean Muellers, chief U.S. representative for the Wanda Group, Joel Carlins, co-CEO of the Magellan Development Co., and Tom Kerwin, founder and principal of bKL Architecture.

“The successful establishment of the joint venture with Magellan Development Group is Wanda’s first step into the U.S. real estate market,” said Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin, one of the wealthiest people in the world. “Furthermore, I sincerely believe that, when complete, the unique design and high quality of the Wanda Tower will provide the Chicago skyline with a new landmark befitting the city known worldwide as the birthplace of the modern skyscraper,” added Jianlin.

Renderings courtesy of Studio Gang Architects and bKL Architecture

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