The Real Deal New York

Chinese developers courting their own citizens for US condo projects

Firms like Greenland and Dalian Wanda have collectively bought $5B in CRE in 2015

December 30, 2015 04:50PM

China

From left: China Oceanwide Holdings’ Lu Zhiqiang and Dalian Wanda’s Wang Jianlin

Much like their crafty stateside competitors, Chinese developers are constructing massive commercial projects in the biggest U.S. cities, and filling the apartments with Chinese citizens.

Seeking a safe, profitable investment outside the reach of the Chinese government, major Chinese players and development companies such as Greenland Holding Group, Dalian Wanda Group and Oceanwide Holdings have bought $5 billion in U.S. commercial real estate this year, up from $2.5 billion last year and $1 billion in 2010.

In many U.S. projects developed by Chinese firms, including Greenland’s “Metropolis,” a three-tower condo project in downtown Los Angeles, more than a third of the buyers are from China, according to the Wall Street Journal. The buyers are generally wealthy and upper-middle-class citizens seeking an investment or a place to send their children while they attend an American university.

The market-at-home and build abroad strategy is logical for the developers. They’re “household names or brand names within China,” said Martin Polevoy, an attorney with DLA Piper in New York who advises Chinese real-estate firms on U.S. property. “People trust them and they will sign on to one of their projects in the U.S.”

They’re not the only ones keen to court the Chinese. Gary Barnett’s Extell Development has offered first dibs to Asian buyers for a luxury condo tower in the Lower East Side. Onex has targeted local Chinese and Chinese living in China for Sky View Parc, its development project in Queens.

According to the Journal, most of the top developers hope to one day collect as much as 20 percent of revenue from Western markets. [WSJ] — James Kleimann

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