Chinese real estate firm to buy 2 NY sites for $390m

Updated: 2015-08-11 09:21

By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York(China Daily USA)

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Even as data indicate that China's economy is in a fragile state, Chinese demand for New York City real estate remains strong as developer Oceanwide Holdings Group Co has agreed to acquire a pair of sites in Manhattan for $390 million.

Oceanwide agreed to buy the two adjacent sites, at 80 South Street and 163 Front Street in New York, from the Howard Hughes Corp on Aug 7. Located near the South Street Seaport, the sites already have been approved for redevelopment into an 800,000 square-foot, mixed-use tower combining commercial and residential space.

"The downtown market is the fastest-growing residential community in New York City," real estate attorney Ross Moskowitz of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP said in an e-mail Monday. "Combining that with the anticipated redevelopment of the South Street Seaport retail area, the neighborhood is ideal for new development."

"I am not surprised to see an investor of this caliber attracted to this area. This is a prime area," Robert Knakal, chairman of New York investment sales for Cushman & Wakefield told China Daily.

Last November, Hughes unveiled a $300 million revised plan to upgrade the South Street Seaport that included a middle school, a food market and new housing. At the time, Hughes noted that the historic seaport was facing an infrastructure crisis as historic piers were deteriorating into the East River.

Beijing-based Oceanwide Holdings and its chairman, Lu Zhiqiang, have developed an appetite for US real estate in a bid to diversify holdings. Oceanwide also has been an aggressive buyer of California real estate, purchasing a site in downtown San Francisco last February for $296 million to build the second-tallest tower in the city. The 910-foot (approximately 60 stories) office building will be designed by English architect Norman Foster.

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