Vista and Aqua developer James Lowenberg is dying


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James Loewenberg, with Vista and Aqua Towers (Magellan)

James Loewenberg, with Vista and Aqua Towers (Magellan)

Developer James Loewenberg, whose vision of architecture and residential neighborhoods helped shape the modern skyline of Chicago, died at the age of 86. According to Crain’s, the cause was pancreatic cancer.

Loewenberg’s recent accomplishments include developing the Aqua and Vista downtown skyscrapers as co-CEO of the Magellan Development Group, Crain said.

Loewenberg created the Lakeshore East project, an 83-acre site stretching from Michigan Avenue to Lakeshore Drive with high-rise residential towers lined with shops, parks and traffic. “It has changed Chicago forever,” said Lynn Osmond, president of the Chicago Architecture Center, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Loewenberg resigned as CEO of Magellan last year and sold his stake in BLG Capital Advisors of Chicago and Winter Properties in New York to partner Joel Carlins, says Crain’s.

Led by Carlin’s son David, Magellan recently paid off A 90 percent stake in Vista Tower, held by Chinese developer Dalian Wanda Group, for $ 270 million. Magellan is now a 100% owner.

Construction of a 101-story building on 375 E. Wacker Drive with a 191-key hotel and about 400 apartments is nearing completion. After Wanda leaves, it is not clear what will happen to part of the hotel; the hotel sector has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.

Magellan continues to hold and partial ownership share in Aqua Tower. The 86-storey building has 474 apartments and 224 apartments above the 334-key Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel.

Born in 1934, Loewenberg received a degree in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1957 and later joined his family’s architectural firm in Chicago. Crain is listed among the hit Gallery on Wells development projects, Wolf Point West, Grand Plaza and One Superior Place on the North River, and two buildings – Cirrus and Cascade – still under construction on Lakeshore East. [Crain’s, Tribune] – Orion Jones


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