Wanda's Chicago deal is first in US realty

Updated: 2014-07-10 05:12

By ELIZABETH WU in New York (China Daily USA)

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Wanda's Chicago deal is first in US realty
Photo taken on August 26, 2013 shows the view of the Wanda Plaza in Wuhan, Hubei province. [Photo by Zhou Guoqiang/Asianewsphoto]

Last month it was the purchase of a historic landmark building in Madrid, and now it's waterfront property in Chicago. Beijing-based Dalian Wanda Group Corp is acquiring a 90-percent stake in a project for high-end residential, commercial and hotel units in what its chairman says is the first of several planned moves into US real estate.

"Investing in Chicago property is just Wanda's first move into the US real estate market," Wang Jianlin, the tycoon who runs Wanda, said in a statement about the investment that was announced on Wednesday. He said that within a year his company will invest in more five-star hotel projects in major US cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Wanda Group said it would invest $900 million into the Chicago property. The Magellan Group, a Los Angeles-based property firm, will hold the remaining 10 percent. The firm declined to comment on the deal.

Construction of the downtown waterfront project will begin this year, with a scheduled opening in 2018. Its centerpiece is an 89-floor skyscraper, which would be the third-tallest building in Chicago. It will house a 240-room five-star hotel, luxury apartments and a commercial center.

"Given the unique location of the Chicago property and its unobstructed waterfront views, there is great potential to develop the site into a true landmark of Chicago," the firm told the Wall Street Journal. It added that the recent lack of luxury-condominium units in downtown Chicago gives the project good prospects.

The site is in the affluent Lakeshore East area, within walking distance of many of the city’s well-known sites, including Michigan Avenue and the theater district.

The Chicago project is Wanda Group's third overseas five-star hotel project. Last month it bought a landmark building in Madrid for $362 million from Spanish bank Banco Santander SA. In 2012 Wanda invested $1.18 billion in a luxury hotel and apartment project in London. Wanda Chairman Wang said by 2020, his company hopes to have five-star hotels in 12 to 15 major cities around the world.

Wanda is known for purchasing US theater chain AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc in 2012. Last week Wanda Cinema Line Co was denied a listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, according to Singapore-based Live Trading News website. The China Securities Regulatory Commission said that Wanda had presented insufficient information in its application.

Wang said he was not worried about the blocked IPO application.

"As long as we make profits, we can go public anywhere and on any platform. If mainland China does not allow us to go public, then we can pack up our capital and go public in Hong Kong. We have all sorts of platforms," he told the website.

Contact the writer at readers@chinadailyusa.com

For China Daily

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