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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Athens Group is still interested in Wanda’s
One Beverly Hills

Wanda Group listed the project for sale -- among four others -- last week
By Natalie Hoberman | November 20, 2017 02:00PM

Rendering of One Beverly Hills and Jay Newman (Credit: Athens Group, One Beverly Hills)

There might still be hope for One Beverly Hills.

Just last week, China-based Dalian Wanda Group listed five of its big-ticket developments up for sale, including the $1.2 billion Beverly Hills condominium and hotel project.

That led to fears that the project at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard, which had been facing troubles from the start, would never see the light of day.

But now, Wanda’s former partner on the project— Phoenix-based developer Athens Group — is looking to find its way back in.

“Were interested in pursuing Beverly Hills and fulfilling our original development vision,” Jay Newman, chief operating officer at Athens, said in an interview Monday. “There’s no doubt we’re interested.”

Wanda hoped to find a single buyer for the five sites, the South China Morning Post reported. In addition to One Beverly Hills, the firm listed listed the $1 billion One Nine Elms in London, the $900 million Vista Tower in Chicago, the $1 billion One Circular Quay in Sydney and the $900 million Jewel Resort in Gold Coast.

Newman said the firm is “exploring all of our options.” Athens shepherded Wanda through the entitlement process for One Beverly Hills, which received a six-month permit extension last week. If it came back on board, it would take on the role of lead developer, he added.

Athens split from Wanda in October for reasons that remain unclear. The firm, which specializes in luxury resorts, urban hotels and residential projects, joined the project in June 2015.

But even before the divorce, Wanda Group had troubles getting its project off the ground — it ultimately had to agree to pay at least $60 million in permitting fees to gain City Council approval.

Its biggest struggles stem from its home base in China, however, which has been buckling down on overseas real estate investment. Wanda, led by billionaire Wang Jianlin, is one of the largest buyers of foreign real estate and owns over $40 billion of property worldwide.

A representative for Wanda could not be reached.