China’s Wanda Group Invests Nearly $1.0 Billion Into Chicago’s Lakeshore East Neighborhood

Very few people are familiar with Wanda Group and that’s no surprise given they are based in Beijing, China. Well… have you ever heard of AMC Theatres? That is one of Wanda Group’s recent acquisitions. Interesting isn’t it?

To catch you up to speed, Wanda Group is a privately held conglomerate that operates in the hospitality, cinema, retailing, property development and karaoke establishments industries. Yes, I did say karaoke establishments. It’s founder is Wang Jianlin, who – according to the Hurun Report – has a net worth of $25 Billion. Jianlin founded Wanda Group in 1988 and has grown it to a $30.8 Billion revenue conglomerate with $2.1 Billion in net income in 2013.

As of July 2014 Wanda Group owned 88 Wanda Plazas, 55 five-star hotels, 1,247 cinema screens, 78 department stores, and 84 karaoke centers throughout China and invests in major central business districts (CBD) around the world such as London, Madrid and now Chicago.

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Wanda Group Chicago project view from the Columbus Street Bridge looking east down the Chicago River.

The $900 Million Chicago Hotel / Condominium / Apartment Development
The Chicago project is Wanda Group’s first investment into the United States real market. According to Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, after looking at space in New York City and Los Angeles, Wanda Group chose Chicago.

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Wanda Group Chicago project looking unto Lakeshore East Park.

This new Wanda project will be designed by Jeanne Gang, the same architect who designed the Aqua tower, which is less than a 5-minute walk away from the site of the new project. The Wanda project will have three towers with the highest tower reaching 89-stories, making it the third tallest building in Chicago behind the Willis Tower and the Trump International Hotel.

The building will include a hotel on the lower levels and apartments and condominiums on the upper levels. The location of this new project will be near the end of East Upper Wacker Dr on the Chicago River near its opening to Lake Michigan and Navy Pier. With this project being a 5-star hotel and given that hotel and permanent residences mix, we expect that residents will receive 5-star service as an option.

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Wanda Group Chicago project dining area rendering facing north with a view of Navy Pier and the Chicago River.

Wanda Group’s Prior Projects
Wanda Group’s most recent projects include the One Nine Elm in London right on the River Thames. One Nine Elms is a proposed mixed-used development with 1.13 Million square feet of prime residential, commercial and retail space in central London.

The project was announced in June 2013 and is expected to be completed in late 2018 with various towers. The development is comprised of the City Tower and River Tower and represents Wanda Group’s Benchmark for luxurious living. One Nine Elm will be comprised of 439 luxurious apartments and Wanda’s 5-star Vista hotel. Within the City Tower, Wanda plans to set its benchmark for luxury with the development of luscious one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with luxurious interiors designed by United Design Partnership and each enjoying panoramic views of the London skyline. We believe a similar attention to detail will be applied to the Chicago project.

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Wanda Group One Nine Elm development in London.

 Below is a gallery related to Wanda Group Chicago project and One Nine Elm London project.

 

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