James Loewenberg, mastermind of Lakeshore East, dead at 86

James Loewenberg

James Loewenberg, the developer behind Chicago’s Lakeshore East, among other projects, has passed away at the age of 86 from pancreatic cancer. He served as chairmen emeritus of Magellan Development, relinquishing he leadership role last December.

Loewenberg has led the development and design of many of Chicago’s most successful residential and mixed-use developments, directly responsible for more than 35,000 residential units and 3,500 single-family homes.

After obtaining a bachelor of architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1957, Loewenberg established himself in the Chicago real estate industry by developing and designing a host of high-rise apartment buildings along Lake Shore Drive. In the 1980s, he designed and developed multi-use residential towers like Ontario Place, One East Delaware Place and One Superior Place, followed by development of The Park Millennium, Grand Plaza and State Place in the early 2000s.

In the mid-2000s, Magellan developed the master planned Lakeshore East project. High-rises such as The Lancaster, The Shoreham, The Tides, Aqua and Coast all went up surrounding a six-acre public park. The Village Market and GEMS World Academy are the most recent additions to Lakeshore East and Wanda Vista Tower is now under construction on the site, slated for completion this year.

As co-developer, along with partner Joel Carlins, of the largest parcel of downtown land under development in any major U.S. city, Loewenberg has been instrumental in the mixed-use Lakeshore East since its conception—from financing, design, master planning and marketing to garnering community and civic support.

Recognized in such diverse areas as industry leadership, training and development practices, Loewenberg has been actively involved in many professional organizations as well as charitable community service. These professional organizations include the Chicago Association of Realtors, Urban Land Institute – Multi-Family Housing Council, American Institute of Architects National Housing Committee, AIA Chicago Chapter – past Secretary and Treasurer, the Chicagoland Apartment Association and Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Committee on People with Disabilities.

Loewenberg was the recipient of the 2009 ULI Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Chicago Real Estate Hall of Fame in September 2009. In addition, he was one of five Award of Excellence recipients from the Illinois Real Estate Journal.

Loewenberg was married for 63 years to Nancy Loewenberg until her death last year. He is survived by his sister Doris Kraus, his daughter Robin (Mark) Tebbe, grandchildren J.R. (Katie) Berger and Michael Berger, step-grandchildren Steve Tebbe and Kira Tebbe and great-grandsons Max and James Berger.