The Real Deal New York

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  • How many big US real estate deals have Chinese insurers made this year? None

    Group was among the most active buyers over the past 3 years
    2017 February 23 09:35AM

    Anbang’s Wu Xiaohui and the Waldorf-Astoria

    China’s insurance giants have hit the brakes on their $100 billion buying spree following a regulatory squeeze on speculation and new limits on outbound capital.

    Insurers like Anbang Insurance Group, Ping An Insurance and China Life Insurance – some of the most active buyers last year – haven’t made any acquisitions so far this year, Bloomberg reported. [more]

  • Kuafu development chief Jeff Dvorett jumps ship to Midwood

    Former Extell exec oversaw projects such as Mima conversion and 151 East 86th St.
    2017 February 22 02:30PM By Katherine Clarke

    Jeffrey Dvorett and Shang Dai

    Jeff Dvorett, who joined Kuafu Properties as head of development in 2014, is leaving the firm, the latest executive shake-up at the Chinese private equity-backed developer.

    Dvorett is taking on a new role at Midwood, a New York-baded real estate development and investment firm led by John Usdan.

    A spokesperson for Midwood said Dvorett, formerly a vice president of development at Extell Development, was one of several executive hires the company had made in a bid to prepare for larger scale projects. [more]

  • WeWork takes 64K sf at 130 West 42nd Street

    Co-working company already operates several Bryant Park locations
    2017 February 22 09:30AM

    From left: 130 West 42nd Street, Adam Neumann and Wang Shi

    WeWork signed a 64,390-square-foot lease for four floors at 130 West 42nd Street, expanding its already considerable footprint in the Bryant Park area. [more]

  • Suddenly less liquid, Chinese buyers shift strategies in NYC

    New capital controls aim to curtail overseas spending
    2017 February 21 07:30AM By E.B. Solomont

    Grand at Sky View Parc in Flushing and Chinese Buyers (Credit: Onex and Getty Images)

    When real estate agent Geovanna Lim’s client went into contract on a $3 million new development condominium in Midtown Manhattan more than two years ago, the pad was an easy get for the Chinese national. He agreed to put $300,000 down and even decided against a mortgage contingency.

    But late last year, when the developer obtained a temporary certificate of occupancy and began closings, Lim’s client entered crisis mode. Faced with China’s strict new capital controls — which took effect Jan. 1 — the buyer scrambled to find a way to move $2.7 million out of mainland China and into the U.S. in order to pay for the apartment in full. After successfully stalling for a few weeks, the period around Chinese New Year was spent doing everything possible to line up a hard-money loan, according to Lim, a broker and founder of Park Avenue International Partners. “He didn’t have time to get his money out,” she lamented. “We signed a no-mortgage contingency contract. We didn’t know we’d need financing two years later.” [more]

  • Inside TheRealDeal
  • EB-5 is a big, beautiful door for Trump corruption: State Dems

    UES State Sen. Krueger and three colleagues want to end the controversial investor visa program
    2017 February 16 04:35PM By Will Parker

    From left: Trump Bay Street, Liz Krueger, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump (Credit: Trump Bay Street and Getty Images)

    When the EB-5 visa program debuted in 1992, members of Congress said it would spur job growth and whip up a significant amount of capital investment from overseas. But despite vigorous support from the real estate industry and a largely supportive Congress, opposition against the program continues to mount. Critics have taken aim at Ponzi-style schemes, murky sources of funding, and vague job creation results as reasons to pull the plug on the dollars-for-visas program.

    Now, there’s another argument you can toss into that anti-EB-5 political salad: the program is a big, beautiful door through which President Donald Trump can both enrich himself and those around him, according to several New York State Democrats. [more]

  • Top regional center chief says Obama’s EB-5 tweaks would decimate program

    “I think you would see as much as a 90 percent dropoff in demand.”
    2017 February 14 05:02PM By Will Parker

    From left: President Barack Obama, Angelique Brunner and President Donald Trump (Credit: Getty Images)

    Just before President Obama left office, the Department of Homeland Security proposed some serious rule changes to the EB-5 visa program, which awards green cards to foreign nationals investing in job-creating U.S. projects. The government currently gives out 10,000 of these visas a year, the overwhelming majority of them to Chinese investors investing in real estate development projects.

    In the wake of a number of scandals related to fraudulent investment activity, dirty money, and skepticism about how many jobs the program really creates, the Obama administration proposed raising the minimum investment threshold to more than double what it is now, shallowing the pool of eligible investors.

    While some advocates of the program have been quiet about what those changes might mean, Angelique Brunner, head of Washington’s EB5 Capital regional centers and spokesperson for the EB-5 Investment Coalition, a major lobbying group, said the proposed rules would spell the end of the program as we know it.  [more]

  • Chinese investors poured nearly $4B into London CRE

    Yuan appreciated against the pound
    2017 February 14 11:00AM

    London skyline and the yuan

    Though commercial deals in London waned in Brexit’s wake, investors from China and Hong Kong purchased approximately $3.75 billion in the city’s real estate last year. [more]

  • East West Bank exec Wendy Cai-Lee leaves to launch fund

    New York-based Oenus Capital to specialize in RE debt, equity
    2017 February 08 11:32AM By Mark Maurer

    Wendy Cai-Lee (Credit: Larry Ford)

    Wendy Cai-Lee, who heads consumer and business banking as well as the U.S. Eastern and Texas regions at East West Bank, has left the firm to start her own real estate debt-and-equity fund called Oenus Capital, sources told The Real Deal.

    Cai-Lee left the bank in January and is planning to move back to the New York area full-time sometime in the spring to launch her firm, sources said. She had been dividing her time between the New York City area and Pasadena, California, where East West Bank is headquartered.  [more]

  • CL Investment sells one-third stake in Shaoul’s Gramercy Park condo project

    Chinese firm scrapped condo conversion at 287 Park Ave. South this fall
    2017 February 06 01:55PM By E.B. Solomont

    Ben Shaoul and 385 First Avenue

    UPDATED, Feb. 6, 4:15 p.m.: Chinese development firm CL Investment Group looks to be having second thoughts about New York City’s condo market.

    The company, formerly known as Cheerland, sold a 32.9 percent stake in the Luminaire, Magnum Real Estate’s rental-to-condo conversion at 385 First Avenue in Gramercy Park, property records show. Another Chinese investor — Hudson West VI LLC, which has an address in Beijing — looks to have picked up CL Investment’s stake for nearly $33 million. [more]

  • Michael Shvo benched at 125 Greenwich: sources

    But he will retain an equity stake in the project
    2017 February 01 06:39PM By Katherine Clarke

    Rendering of 125 Greenwich Street and Michael Shvo (Credit: Bizzi & Partners Development and Getty Images)

    Michael Shvo has been sidelined from his flagship project, an 88-story condominium tower at 125 Greenwich Street, The Real Deal has learned. [more]

  • Chinese property investment abroad hits new high

    And the U.S. received the bulk of that cash
    2017 January 29 12:35PM

    The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, which sold to Anbang Insurance Group

    The Chinese are not slowing down in their quest for trophy properties across the globe. Investment in foreign property by the Chinese increased by more than half last year, setting a new record. [more]

  • Williamsburg rental asks $18K

    Listing at the Oosten breaks neighborhood record
    2017 January 25 08:43AM

    The Oosten

    Williamsburg landlords may have found a solution to their L train worries: attracting tenants rich enough to take a helicopter to work. [more]

  • SL Green, Ivanhoe Cambridge land $375M loan for 1745 B’way

    Companies opted to refi rather than sell the Midtown office tower
    2017 January 24 06:43PM By Katherine Clarke

    Marc Holliday of SL Green and 1745 Broadway

    SL Green Realty and Ivanhoe Cambridge refinanced their interest in a Midtown office tower at 1745 Broadway with a $375 million loan from Bank of China, following a decision by Penguin Random House to stay at the building.

    The partners had previously thought about selling their stake in the property, which totals 685,000 square feet across floors two through 25. It was expected to fetch north of $700 million. But when Penguin opted to re-up at the building last year, they decided to take it off the market, sources said. [more]

  • Brokers sue SMI USA over purchase of Thor’s 520 Fifth Avenue

    Ajaypal Saran and Ayesha Khan claim they were cut out of $4M in fees
    2017 January 24 02:40PM By Kathryn Brenzel

    Rendering of 520 fifth Avenue

    Two brokers claim they were cut out of nearly $4 million in commissions when SMI USA purchased Thor Equities’ 520 Fifth Avenue alongside Ceruzzi Properties two years ago.

    Ajaypal Saran and Ayesha Khan, both brokers registered in New York, are suing SMI for allegedly tricking them into providing information on the property without signing a broker agreement, according to a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court on Monday. The brokers claim they introduced the property to SMI, then known as Shanghai Chengtau USA, as a development opportunity on Fifth Avenue with roughly 300,000 buildable square feet. The brokers said the property was worth an estimated $345 million. [more]

  • Hong Kong’s space capsule pods (credit:

    Hong Kong’s space capsule pods (credit:

    From Luxury Listings NYC: A collection of 25-square-foot “space capsule pods” in Hong Kong are taking the tiny home trend to a whole new — and much smaller — level. Back in November, landlord Sandy Wong began renting out around 50 pods spread across six apartments. [more]

  • Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

    Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

    China added an impressive 84 skyscrapers (towers over 650 feet) to its skyline in 2016, setting a record for the nation. But the real prize goes to the so-called Silicon Valley of China, which built 11 new towers. [more]

  • The most unaffordable real estate isn’t in NY — it’s in Asia

    Returns from rents in Asian cities is "remarkably low," report says
    2017 January 20 10:02AM

    Hong Kong (Credit: Exploringlife via Wikipedia)

    Think New York City real estate is expensive? In Hong Kong, Mumbai, Beijing and Shanghai, homebuyers may be saving for three decades to buy a modest home. [more]

  • Rockefeller Group signs insurance company Endurance to 143K sf at 1221 Sixth

    China Investment Corp. recently bought a minority stake in the building, valuing it at $2.29B
    2017 January 19 12:00PM By Rich Bockmann

    1221 Sixth Avenue

    The Rockefeller Group signed commercial-property and casualty insurer Endurance to 143,000 square feet at its 50-story Rockefeller Center office tower at 1221 Sixth Avenue, also known as the McGraw-Hill Building. [more]

  • Xi Jinping and Donald Trump (Credit: Getty Images)

    What a difference a year can make. Last January, New York real estate’s top brass were losing their hair over a looming crisis in China. At a memorable ULI New York panel, developers bemoaned the disappearance of big-ticket Chinese investors. [more]

  • EB-5 investors are California dreamin’

    More than half of all EB-5 investors and their family members live in California: report
    2017 January 13 04:05PM By Cathaleen Chen

    Sally Forster Jones and Michael Nourmand

    From the Los Angeles website: West Coast, best coast. That’s certainly the attitude among EB-5 investors, the majority of whom choose to live in California, according to a recent report from the Department of Commerce. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data recorded between 2009 and 2014, over 8,000 EB-5 investors and their family members resided in California  —  more than half of all EB-5 investors in the U.S. [more]