Steve Vogel is suing Magellan for fraud, Crain’s reported. The firm continued to promote Wanda’s involvement in its sales pitch for the 101-story project, according to the suit. That came even as Magellan “knew Dalian was actively seeking to exit the Vista Towers project and that Wanda would not be the hotelier of the finished project,” according to a lawsuit filed last week in Cook County circuit court.
Magellan, which previously owned a 10-percent stake in the project before the recent $270 million buyout, had long insisted that Wanda was committed to the development, even as the Chinese conglomerate was publicly shopping its stake as part of efforts to sell off $4 billion in investments worldwide. That selloff included a condo-hotel project in Los Angeles and a 20-percent stake in the Atlético Madrid soccer team.
The Chicago developer told Crain’s that Wanda was still “fully engaged” in 2017, and told The Real Deal “Wanda is our partner on the property” in 2018. Wanda Group is still listed as a partner on the Vista Tower’s website.
The hotel portion of Vista Tower was once slated to be Wanda Group’s first U.S. hotel, with 210 rooms, a spa and a restaurant. The tower, which was expected to be ready for occupancy in the third quarter, will have roughly 400 condo units — including an $18.5 million unit that would be one of the priciest in Chicago history.
Vogel’s attorney told Crain’s that the value of the unit “absolutely is less” without Wanda’s involvement in the project. “Wanda is worldwide and was going to provide a lot of cachet, because it would be like no other hotel and condo combo in the city,” he said.
Vogel put down a roughly $1.5 million deposit for the unit in 2018, soon after selling his boat manufacturing company for $805 million. He spent another $1.74 million on design fees and other costs, which he is also seeking to have refunded. [Crain’s] — Kevin Sun