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Chinese backers of Chicago’s Vista Tower refute report of financial turmoil

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In the midst of a major shake-up, China’s Dalian Wanda Group is reportedly still committed to the Chicago project

The 94-story tower is already making its presence known along East Wacker Drive.
Harry Carmichael

While a major restructuring of China’s Dalian Wanda Group this summer left some wondering what the shake-up could mean for Chicago’s 94-story Vista Tower, a more recent report that the company was looking to sell its stake in the skyscraper for $900 million had some questioning the project’s financial viability. The report, which appeared over the weekend in the South China Morning Post, claimed that Wanda is seeking a combined $5 billion from a single buyer in exchange for five oversees assets—Vista included.

Vista Tower

Chicago’s Magellan Development, the Chinese firm’s partner on the project, has since pushed back against the claim. “Wanda has assured us that the articles are inaccurate. Wanda has remained fully engaged in the project, and today we are still on schedule, on budget,” Magellan president David Carlins told Crain’s. Mr. Carlins also confirmed that Vista has sold roughly 40 percent of its 406 luxury condominiums, priced between $1 million and $18 million.

Despite conflicting reports, work on the glassy Jeanne Gang-designed supertall continues here in the Windy City at 363 E. Wacker Drive. After breaking ground last fall, the tower’s concrete superstructure has steadily climbed skyward in Chicago’s Lakeshore East neighborhood. Provided everything stays on track, Vista will become the city’s third tallest building—and second highest roof—when it is completed in late 2019/early 2020.

In addition to its aforementioned condo units, the Chicago skysraper is also expected to contain a 210-room luxury hotel. It is unclear if the establishment will still be badged and operated under Wanda’s hospitality brand. Dalian Wanda sold off billions of dollars in assets earlier this year, including most of its Chinese hotels and theme parks.