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James Loewenberg, Aqua and Vista developer, dies at 86




Loewenberg and Carlins resigned in December, relinquishing the title of CEO to David Carlins, son of Joel Carlins, and selling their interests in Magellan to Winter Properties and Chicago-based BLG Capital Advisors, based in New York.

“Jim Loewenberg was a great man of great integrity and great innovation in the real estate community,” David Carlins said in the statement. “His work had a deep meaning in our beautiful city and it will remain his legacy.”

Born in 1934, Loewenberg followed his father, Max Loewenberg – whose works included the Whitehall Hotel and the present-day Hotel Lincoln – into architecture. He grew up in downtown Chicago but graduated from North Shore Country Day in Winnetka, joining his family’s architectural firm after earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Focusing primarily on the Chicago residential market, Loewenberg has designed and developed buildings, many along North Lake Shore Drive. In the 1980s, he began teaming up on projects with Joel Carlins, formally joining forces in 2006, when Loewenberg merged his company, NNP Residential, with Magellan, run by Carlins.

Whether as an architect or developer, Loewenberg has been involved in the creation of 45,000 residential units and more than 500,000 square feet of commercial space, the statement said. He won the Urban Land Institute’s Chicago Life Achievement Award in 2009.

Loewenberg’s developments include Gallery on Wells, Grand Plaza and One Superior Place in River North, Wolf Point West Apartments and two buildings still under construction at Lakeshore East, Cirrus and Cascade.

Construction on Vista is nearing completion, though the project faces an uncertain future amid a sluggish downtown condominium market and questions about a planned hotel in the 101-story tower on Wacker Drive, the third highest in the city. Magellan recently bought out its Chinese partner in the project.

With its wavy balconies, Aqua, which includes condos, apartments, and a hotel, is perhaps Magellan’s most popular building in the city, winning numerous design awards and fans of architectural river cruises.

“Jim trusted me and I will always hold a special place in my heart given the creative opportunity he gave me with my first skyscraper, Aqua, and most recently my tallest Vista skyscraper, Gang, founder of Chicago-based Studio Gang, said in the statement.

Loewenberg lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on October 14. He was married for 63 years to Nancy Loewenberg until his death last year. He is survived by his sister Doris Kraus, his daughter Robin (Mark) Tebbe, his grandchildren JR (Katie) Berger and Michael Berger and his step-grandchildren Steve Tebbe and Kira Tebbe. He is also survived by two great-grandsons Max and James Berger.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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