Monday, July 18, 2016

In Los Angeles, Greenland condo project said to be 30% sold to Chinese investors (model for Brooklyn?)

Who will live in the super luxe Metropolis condos? asked the Real Deal 7/13/16, with the sub-heading "The project developer Greenland USA wants to market some of the units to buyers in New York":
Greenland USA, whose billion-dollar Metropolis project is the biggest development under construction in Los Angeles, has recently filed a request to market 51 Phase II condos to buyers and investors in the Big Apple.
Once both phases are complete in 2018, Metropolis will have three condo towers with 1,500 condo units in total and a 19-story boutique hotel, as well as plenty of retail space.
In New York, out-of-state developers must apply with the Attorney General’s office to solicit buyers. But given high demand for condos in L.A., specifically marketing outside of La La Land is an atypical move among developers.
Metropolis official rendering
But this is unusual, though not unique, because it's in downtown L.A.

A chunk of Chinese buyers

More interestingly, the Real Deal references (without the link) a 12/15/15 report from public radio station KPCC that said a good number of condo buyers are Chinese investors who paid all-cash. for a project that's promoted in English and in Mandarin.

Indeed, KPCC reported that the six-acre site, now due for 1500 condos, had faltered:
Other developers have tried for decades to raise enough financing to turn the six-acre Metropolis site into something other than parking lots. The only one to pull it off has been Greenland Holding Group, a Chinese state-owned real estate behemoth. Bankers and real estate lawyers say a big reason why it has succeeded where so many others have failed is because Greenland has a big advantage: a direct line to millions of potential buyers in mainland China.
Exactly how many such Chinese buyers there are is unclear, but one banker interviewed said the company's target was 30%, since he'd been "told that figure by Greenland because his bank is writing the mortgages for some Metropolis buyers who can’t do all-cash."

Nationally, about 70% of Chinese buyers pay cash, which is good for condo projects because, as KPCC reported, "most banks require up to half a building to be under contract before they’ll approve a mortgage"

Many Chinese guyers nationally--more than 60%--are absentee owners, which could pose a problem in terms of foot traffic around Metropolis and, as a commenter suggested, might lead to Airbnb listings.

And in Brooklyn?

That, of course, raises questions about the condos coming at Greenland Forest City Partners' Pacific Park Brooklyn, formerly Atlantic Yards, with the first condo building, 550 Vanderbilt, said to be 50% sold.

What percentage of buyers are Chinese? Will/can units be put on Airbnb?

The former Greenland USA CEO

A friendly 7/11/16 Bisnow interview, EXCLUSIVE: URBAN LINK CEO I-FEI CHANG TALKS FOREIGN INVESTORS, features the founding head of Greenland USA, now head of the company Urban Link:
I-Fei refers to her departure from Greenland USA as "a happy early graduation." She says her value is in providing a vision for projects, establishing a team and introducing capital, so it is her passion to lead "when there’s no team, no direction, no vision, and when the land has yet to create its value." She is proud of her accomplishments, saying she initiated major, mixed-use, "multiple function" projects in both LA and NY for Greenland. Both projects were fully entitled and Phase 1 [of Metropolis] was "fully permitted and topped out," according to I-Fei.
OK, but the suddenness of her November 2015 departure, coupled with the lack of a new job at the time, doesn't suggest graduation.

Today's, she's aiming "to initiate the 'learn-work-live-play environment in urban areas,' helping local city officials and project partners reach out to Asian capital," according to the report. She's focusing on satellite cities such as Oakland and Jersey City.

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