Shanghai firm eyes New York condos

Updated: 2016-08-03 11:07

By Paul Welitzkin in New York(China Daily USA)

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The US unit of Shanghai Municipal Investment (SMI), the largest state-owned enterprise in Shanghai, is reportedly taking part in a billion-dollar condominium project in New York City.

SMI USA is poised to become a partner with the Extell Development Company, in the development of the Central Park Tower at 217 West 57th Street, The Real Deal reported on Monday.

The Real Deal said that new documents filed with the New York attorney general's office for the project list a new corporate entity, SMITELL LLC, which the publication said may be a combination of the two companies' names. In June, Extell also transferred title of the new condo to that new entity, the publication said.

Neither SMI nor Extell would immediately confirm the partnership, The Real Deal said, and a spokesman for Extell told China Daily that the company had no comment on the report.

Shanghai firm eyes New York condos

The Central Park Tower that is under construction overlooks Central Park on one side and West 57th Street on its front side. Nancy Kong / For China Daily

The Real Deal reported that Gary Barnett, who founded and heads Extell, has been seeking a capital partner for the tower, projected to rise 1,550 feet and cost about $2.98 billion. It reported in June that Barnett was looking to raise $190 million in EB-5 funding for the 182-unit development.

The project originally was to have 182 units for a total sellout of $4.4 billion, which includes the sale of the commercial space at the base to retail giant Nordstrom. A new offering plan filed by the company calls for 179 units but does not specify prices, The Real Deal reported.

Shanghai firm eyes New York condos

Shanghai Municipal Investment, or SMI, was formerly known as Shanghai Chengtou. The Real Deal said that SMI has been an active player in the New York real estate market in recent months, partnering with another company for a $1 billion condo project in Midtown Manhattan at 520 Fifth Avenue.

Barnett's company developed another building on West 57th Street, the 90-story skyscraper at 157 West 57th. Sales in that condo building have been making headlines since it opened. Many owners are wealthy foreigners, among them Guoqing Chen, a founder of Hainan Airlines, the largest independent air carrier in China and part of the HNA Group, according to The New York Times. He bought a floor-through unit on the 57th floor for nearly $47. 4 million, the newspaper reported in May 2015.

Shanghai Municipal Investment, or SMI, was formerly known as Shanghai Chengtou. SMI USA is a full-service real estate development, investment and management firm based in New York. Since 2014, SMI USA has been actively involved in New York property deals. The company is also involved in the development of Shanghai Tower, a 2,073-foot-tall mixed-use building in the city.

SMI has two publicly listed subsidiaries as well as 11 private affiliates and subsidiaries. With more than 20,000 workers, the company operates in tandem with Shanghai city's infrastructural planning, investments, construction and operational agendas. As of 2014 the company had net assets of about $67.2 billion.

EB-5 is an alternative way for immigrant investors to obtain a US visa. It was created in 1990 to help stimulate the US economy through job creation and foreign investment.