Chi­nese firm to take NYC theater condo

Xinyuan Real Es­tate will build a condo tower on site of a 1928 theater in Flush­ing, Queens

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

The chance to build high-end con­do­mini­ums in a boom­ing Chi­na­town has at­tracted Xinyuan Real Es­tate Co Ltd to an­other New York City pro­ject.

Xinyuan, one of the first Chi­nese de­vel­op­ers to en­ter the US mar­ket, on Mon­day an­nounced the ac­qui­si­tion of the RKO Keith’s Theater, a land­mark movie palace lo­cated in the Flush­ing neigh­bor­hood of Queens, New York.

Xinyuan plans to tear down most of the build­ing and con­struct a 269-unit con­do­minium tower.

“We ex­pect this de­vel­op­ment will be ap­peal­ing to both lo­cal and for­eign buy­ers and in­vestors,” Ge­orge Liu, chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer for Xinyuan, wrote in an email.

“This is one of the fastest­grow­ing neigh­bor­hoods in New York City, with a clear short­age of higher-end condo prod­uct.

“The area is home to the sec­ond-largest Chi­na­town out­side of Asia. We an­tic­i­pate we’ll be able to sell these units both in the US and China.”

Xinyuan pur­chased the theater — built in 1928 — from JK Eq­ui­ties LLC for $66 mil­lion. JK ac­quired the prop­erty three years ago for about $30 mil­lion. The theater has been closed since the mid-1980s.

It will be Xinyuan’s third condo pro­ject in New York. The com­pany is in­volved in the 216-unit Oosten in Wil­liams­burg in Brook­lyn and a planned 100-unit pro­ject at a site in Man­hat­tan.

“This de­vel­op­ment makes Xinyuan one of the most ac­tive de­vel­op­ers in New York City with ap­prox­i­mately 1 mil­lion square feet of build­ings un­der con­struc­tion in three bor­oughs. Flush­ing is a ris­ing mar­ket, and this neigh­bor­hood has tremen­dous de­mand for qual­ity mod­ern res­i­den­tial units,” Liu said.

Once the con­dos are built, the 372,598-square-foot mixed-use de­vel­op­ment will have re­tail space on the ground floor and sec­ond floor.

“This de­vel­op­ment has been pre­pared by the ar­chi­tec­tural firm of Pei Cobb Freed, I.M. Pei’s ar­chi­tec­tural firm that de­signed the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, with plans for 269 mod­ern condo res­i­dences,” Liu said.

“This will be a mid-rise, mod­ern con­do­minium build­ing with ameni­ties such as a 24-hour door­man, gym, ten­ant lounge, 305-space park­ing garage and land­scaped court­yard as well as a large ground-floor and sec­ond­floor re­tail space,” he said.

We an­tic­i­pate we’ll be able to sell these units both in the US and China.” Ge­orge Liu, Xinyuan chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer 269 Num­ber of units planned for tower 1 mil­lion Ap­prox­i­mate square footage Xinyuan has in New York

Flush­ing, in the north-cen­tral part of the bor­ough of Queens, 1as of the 2010 Cen­sus, has sup­planted Man­hat­tan’s Chi­na­town as the most pop­u­lous in New York with a pop­u­la­tion of 33,536 Chi­nese. Man­hat­tan’s Chi­na­town has nearly 29,000, ac­cord­ing to the Asian Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion.

Founded in 1997 and based in Bei­jing, Xinyuan has been ac­tive in real es­tate de­vel­op­ment in Cal­i­for­nia, Ne­vada and New York.

It had an ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing on the New York Stock Ex­change in 2007, with in­sti­tu­tional pri­vate equity back­ers like Blue Ridge Cap­i­tal and Sam Zell’s Equity In­ter­na­tional.

In China, the com­pany had 21 ac­tive de­vel­op­ment projects by the end of 2015 in key mar­kets like Bei­jing and Shang­hai and also in sev­eral sec­ond-tier cities like Ji­nan, Suzhou, Xi’an and Zhengzhou.

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