Come Say Hello to Wanda

Wanda Vista Tower pre-construction

This is what the Wanda Vista Tower looked like two days ago. Not much has changed.

A couple of days ago, The Chicago Architecture Blog’s Daniel Schell stood near an empty lot in Lakeshore East, craned his neck skyward and tried to imagine the muddy chunk of barren land as something more: The Wanda Tower, climbing 88 stories into the blue, blue Chicago sky.

Wanda Vista

Drawing of the Wanda Vista Tower

Amazingly, at that very moment the mailman was delivering letters from 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly inviting neighbors to a public meeting to discuss the Wanda Tower.  Spooky.

To recap, the Wanda Tower (now being called “Wanda Vista Tower” by Magellan Development) is a proposed 88-story residential and hotel tower to be built at 381 East Wacker Drive, facing the Chicago River and straddling North Field Boulevard.

The money behind the project is Wang Jianlin and his Wanda Group.  He’s the richest person in China.  Wanda is a massive global company just starting to make inroads in the United States. According to Forbes, he’s worth $24 billion, which is pretty good for a communist.  Wanda Group is the largest real estate development company in China.

Architect Jeanne Gang has put together a design for a 1,635,788 square-foot building with 250 hotel rooms on the bottom 20 floors, and the remainder of the building condominiums and “ultra-lux” full-floor condominiums at the tippy top.

If you’d like to offer your opinion on the project, the meeting is being held at 6pm on Monday, April 13th, 2015 at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel (221 North Columbus Drive) in the Atlantic Ballroom.  Get there early, and expect this public meeting to be packed.

Alderman Reilly Letter about Wanda Vista Tower

Alderman Reilly Letter about Wanda Vista Tower

Location: 381 East Wacker Drive, The Loop

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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