The Real Deal Chicago

Dalian Wanda still shopping majority stake in Vista Tower

Canadian firm Triple Five backed out of an L.A. deal that reportedly also included the Wacker Drive tower
By Alex Nitkin | November 16, 2018 03:00PM

A rendering of Vista Tower

Triple Five Group’s reported pursuit of Dalian Wanda Group’s majority stake in Chicago’s Vista Tower was cast in doubt this week after news surfaced that the Canada-based shopping mall developer backed out of a contract to buy the 8-acre One Beverly Hills property in California from Wanda.

Sources told The Real Deal in September that Triple Five was buying Wanda’s stake in the Vista Tower as part of the the deal for One Beverly Hills.

But Brian Gordon, executive vice president of Magellan Development Group, said Friday that Triple Five never sealed any agreement to take over what will become the third-tallest tower in Chicago when it’s completed in two years.

“We’ve been telling everyone that there was not a deal with Triple Five, and no one believed us,” Gordon said. “Wanda is our partner on the property.”

Wanda, though, is publicly trying to sell its Vista Tower stake, announcing the move in February as part of a broader effort to offload its American real estate holdings.

Representatives of Triple Five Group and Dalian Wanda could not be reached for comment Friday.

Magellan, the developer of the Lakeshore East neighborhood, owns a minority stake in Vista Tower and is overseeing its construction. The 98-story tower is on track for completion in late 2020, and crews are currently pouring the “blow-through floor” that would let wind pass through the skyscraper, Gordon said.

Triple Five, which owns shopping centers and entertainment complexes including the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, was in escrow to buy One Beverly Hills but lapsed on an Oct. 31 closing deadline, a person close to the negotiation told TRD.

A spokeswoman for Triple Five told the Wall Street Journal it pulled out of the Beverly Hills deal because of climbing interest rates and construction costs, along with a “lack of confidence” in luxury condo demand.

Last month, Magellan and partner Lendlease got city approval to build four new towers in Lakeshore East combining for 2,340 residential units and 570 hotel rooms.

In September, Magellan and JPMorgan Asset Management announced they were putting the apartment portion of the 86-story Aqua Tower in Lakeshore East up for sale.  Since then, Magellan refinanced the 298-unit Exhibit on Superior and 442-unit Gallery on Wells apartment buildings in River North.