By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Chicago–J.P. Morgan Asset Management will take a majority stake in the 87-story Aqua, a mixed-use development in downtown Chicago, for about $182 million. More specifically, J.P. Morgan, on behalf of institutional investors, will buy a majority interest in the property’s 474 rental units, as well as its parking and commercial space, from Chicago-based Magellan Development Group L.L.C.
Last fall, Magellan had struck a deal with Behringer Harvard Multifamily REIT I Inc. to buy an interest in the property, but that fell through. Now that a sale has gone through, Magellan will be able to pay off the construction loan it took out, not long before the economic crisis, to build the property. The deal is reportedly the largest multifamily sale in Chicago since before the start of the recession.
“There was considerable interest in the property by institutional investors because we had a lot of success with prior buildings at Lakeshore East,” Joel Carlins, co-CEO of Magellan, tells MHN. Lakeshore East is the name for the entire master-planned community, by Magellan, that Aqua is part of. Other developments since 2005 at Lakeshore East include condos the Lancaster, the Regatta, 340 on the Park and the Chandler; apartments developed there include the Shoreham and the Tides.
The building, noteworthy for its design by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects featuring undulating balconies, includes studio to two-bedroom rental units on floors 19 to 52. Though among the most expensive rental properties in Chicago–as much as about $3,200 for a two-bedroom unit–the apartments have proven quite popular in terms of leasing up. The rental component of the building is now about 97 percent occupied.
Aqua also includes 262 condos as large as three bedrooms on floors 53 to 81, plus two floors of penthouses. About 80 percent of these condos have been sold, according to Magellan.
Currently under construction on floors four through 18 is a Radisson Blu Hotel, which is a JV between Magellan and Carlson Hotels. When completed later this year, the hotel will include 334 guest rooms, a 150-seat restaurant, meeting space and a ballroom. It will be the United States’ first Radisson Blu (formerly Radisson SAS), which is a popular brand throughout much of the rest of the world.