Vista Tower changes name, signs up new hotel partner

The high-stakes name game for Chicago skyscrapers continues. In the city of the Sears — er, Willis — Tower and the former John Hancock Center, now known just as 875 North Michigan Avenue until a different sponsor comes along, there is a new name for Vista Tower, the city’s third-tallest building.

The 101-story luxury building due to get its first residents next month is now called the St. Regis Chicago. The owner, Magellan Development Group, announced the change Wednesday because it has a deal with St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, a premium brand of the Marriott chain, to operate the property’s hotel and provide butler service to condo owners.

The agreement replaces a deal with China’s Wanda Hotel Development, which backed out and sold its 90% stake in the tower to Magellan for $270 million. The withdrawal caused a couple of condo buyers to try to cancel multi-million-dollar purchases with Magellan, arguing Wanda’s absence made the project less attractive. The developer changed what it originally called the Wanda Vista Tower to simply Vista Tower.

Magellan’s announcement emphasized that St. Regis will ensure the Jeanne Gang-designed building will be an ultra-premium destination. It also said Chicago-based Alinea Group will provide fine dining in the tower.

“We truly thank and appreciate our buyers for their continuous support and faith in Magellan to deliver a world-class product,” said David Carlins, the firm’s CEO. He also mentioned financial backing from J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The entire building at 363 E. Wacker Drive in Lakeshore East downtown is due to be finished in the third quarter of 2021. Magellan is betting the coronavirus will have subsided by then, and demand for hotel rooms and high-end condos will rebound.

Peter Weidman, managing director in the Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division, called its involvement “a vote of confidence in Chicago’s real estate market and a true testament to our longstanding relationship with the Magellan Development team.”

The hotel in the St. Regis Chicago will have 191 rooms and there will be 393 condos. Magellan said the condos are priced from $1 million to $18.5 million.

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