Shang­hai firm eyes New York con­dos

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

The US unit of Shang­hai Mu­nic­i­pal In­vest­ment (SMI), the largest state-owned en­ter­prise in Shang­hai, is re­port­edly tak­ing part in a bil­lion­dol­lar 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.

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 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 57 th Street, the 90-story sky­scraper at 157 West 57 th. 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.

NANCY KONG / FOR CHINA DAILY

The Cen­tral Park Tower that is un­der con­struc­tion over­looks Cen­tral Park on one side and West 57th Street on its front side.

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