Hotel Gossip: Chicago Not A "Sweet Home" For Shangri-La


The now stalled Waterview Tower and Shangri-La project

Chicago is not Shangri-La Hotels' "kind of town" after all. Los Angeles-based brokerage firm CB Richard Ellis is searching high and low for a buyer of the now languishing Waterview Tower and Shangri-la Hotel project on Wacker Drive, this according to

The firm has been hired to sell the development, which is now only 26 stories of concrete, a relic of the days of real estate excess. How the firm will even find a buyer is puzzling, unless it sells if for 70 cents on the dollar.

The project was halted last year after the developer's pockets went dry. Now, Bank of America is trying to collect on a $20-million loan, and construction firms claim they’re owed a combined $85 million. Good luck! Sounds like a mess.

In March, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts backed out of an agreement to run a 200-unit hotel in the tower. Now, the Hong Kong-based hotel group has its eyes set on Russia. It has signed an agreement with China Huaming International Investment Corporation (CHMIIC) to manage a hotel in Moscow, which will be the group's first property in Russia.

The hotel is expected to open in 2012 with 400 rooms occupying the top floors of a 42-story tower in the Park Huaming Business Centre. The hotel will be next to the Botanical Gardens (many of the rooms will have birds-eye views of the Gardens) and just six miles from Red Square.

Other aspects: A 12,918-square-foot grand ballroom, a 7,535-square-foot auditorium and a wide range of function rooms. Recreational facilities will include an indoor swimming pool and health club.

"As we continue to expand globally, Russia remains one of our key markets," said Madhu Rao, managing director and chief executive officer of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts. Chicago, not so much.



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