Chinese firm makes another NY purchase
Blackstone agreed to sell an office building on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue to China's Anbang Insurance Group, the buyer of New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel.
Anbang agreed to pay between $400m (€305m) and $500m for the property at 717 Fifth Avenue, located at the corner of 56th St. in Midtown's Plaza District.
The purchase would be the second major New York real estate deal made by Beijing-based Anbang, which calls itself one of China's largest insurance companies.
It acquired the landmark Waldorf Astoria for $1.95bn from Hilton Worldwide , the hotel operator majority owned by Blackstone, in a transaction completed earlier this month.
A spokesman for New York-based Blackstone, declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Los Angeles-based CBRE, the broker on the deal.
Phone calls to Anbang's main offices weren't returned. Many Chinese businesses are closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.
Crain's New York Business reported the deal on Wednesday.
Anbang is buying the office portion, or 22 floors, of the 26-story building.
The sale agreement doesn't affect the first four floors, which house retailers Dolce & Gabbana and Giorgio Armani, and aren't owned by Blackstone.
Office tenants at 717 Fifth, one block south of Trump Tower, include the Merrill Lynch unit of Bank of America.
Blackstone is the second-biggest owner of offices in the US, after Brookfield Property Partners, according to real estate research firm Green Street Advisors.
The private-equity and alternative-asset company has been selling holdings from its 2007 takeover of Equity Office Properties Trust as values and occupancies increase and show few signs of slowing.
Anbang agreed to buy a controlling stake in Tongyang Life Insurance Co. for 1.13 trillion won (€761m), the South Korean company said in a regulatory filing this week.
In November, people familiar with the matter said Anbang was planning an initial public offering that could raise about $2bn. (Bloomberg)
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