Chinese investors stake out New York

August 11, 2011 08:45AM

Chinese banks have quietly invested more than $1 billion into New York real estate in the past year, the New York Times reported, as investors pick up luxury apartments and get involved with commercial and residential projects in an effort to diversify their holdings and develop international business relationships.

In the last 12 months, Chinese companies have inked significant leases at the Empire State Building, at 1 World Trade Center, and invested heavily — around $249 million — in Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards. Bank of China also lent $800 million in late 2010 to Refinance A Building On Park Avenue, the Times said, and doled out $250 million to refinance an office tower at 3 Columbus Circle.

All of these investments seem to pass by without much press attention.

“It’s truly amazing how much they’ve been able to do without being highlighted in public,” said Dan Fasulo, managing director of Real Capital Analytics.

For Chinese real estate moguls, New York is still the center of the universe.

“Everybody wants to come to New York because New York is the starting point for going global,” said Xue Ya, president of the China Center, which just signed for six floors at Silverstein Properties’ 1 World Trade Center.

The sudden influx of wealthy Asian buyer has taken high-end real estate brokers by surprise.

“We went from zero to 200 miles per hour in six months,” said Pamela Liebman, president of the Corcoran Group. “This year, it’s the biggest buzz word in real estate: ‘Chinese.'” [NYT]