Magellan, Lendlease cleared to add 4 more towers in Lakeshore East

The buildings will combine for 2,340 resi units and 570 hotel rooms on opposite ends of the neighborhood

The I, J and K/L residential buildings, James Loewenberg and Joel Carlins
The I, J and K/L residential buildings, James Loewenberg and Joel Carlins

Magellan Development won city approval Thursday for two separate proposals comprising four buildings with 2,340 residential units, 570 hotel rooms and 44,000 square feet of retail space on opposite ends of the Lakeshore East neighborhood.

The first proposal approved by the Chicago Plan Commission on Thursday spells out plans for a 600-foot hotel and residential tower on a 33,000-square-foot plot between the Blue Cross Blue Shield building and Magellan’s Aqua Tower.

The bKL Architecture-designed staggered glass building would stretch 53 stories and include about 14,000 square feet of retail space in addition to a hotel bar-restaurant and a 4,400-square-foot ballroom. The residential component includes an array of units ranging from 413-square-foot studios to 1,100-square-foot three-bedrooms.

Magellan’s proposal for a combined hotel and residential tower

Magellan plans to build a connection from the new tower into the city’s underground pedway system, plus a new median on Columbus Drive to help pedestrians get across the thoroughfare.

The commission separately voted Thursday in favor of Magellan and Lendlease’s joint $1.1 billion bid to build three towers on the eastern edge of the 28-acre neighborhood. The towers would combine for 1,700 residential units and 30,000 square feet of retail space on a 171,000-square-foot property overlooking Lake Shore Drive.

The proposal was pared down this year from an earlier version that called for a hotel and 2,000 residential units across four towers. The latest plan, approved Thursday, imagines three towers respectively stretching 85, 50 and 40 stories tall.

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The 950-foot building would include two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, with the smallest homes measuring about 1,214 square feet each. Plans for the shorter buildings show studios and one-bedrooms as well as two-bedrooms and three-bedrooms.

The three towers would be separated by green spaces including a park and “sunken garden.” A bike and pedestrian path would trace the property’s southern edge.

Construction is projected to begin on the shorter towers in the spring, with the first spaces opening in early 2021. The tallest tower would be built afterward.

Magellan’s 101-story Vista Tower has already sprouted above the surrounding towers in Lakeshore East, about two years before its projected completion. Canada-based Triple Five Group last month took over Dalian Wanda’s majority stake in the project.

Last month, Magellan hired JLL to sell off the 474-unit apartment portion of Aqua Tower.

Across the river from Lakeshore East, Related Midwest unveiled a proposal this year for two residential towers at 400 North Lake Shore Drive, on the former site of the ill-fated Chicago Spire.

And earlier this month, Magellan refinanced the 298-unit Exhibit on Superior in River North with a $115 million mortgage.