Last updated: October 18, 2013 7:34 pm

Fosun snaps up New York skyscraper

Protesters organized by the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America march outside of One Chase Manhattan Plaza December 14, 2009 in New York City. Protesters marched past various banking headquarters and the New York Stock Exchange, denouncing home loan interest rates and bank bonuses©Getty

Fosun International has become the latest Chinese company to buy its own piece of New York property, spending $725m on One Chase Manhattan Plaza.

China’s largest private conglomerate announced its purchase of the 60-storey skyscraper from JPMorgan Chase in a statement to the Hong Kong exchange on Friday. The office building, previously the headquarters of Chase Manhattan Bank, towers over the New York Federal Reserve, just a few yards up from Wall Street.

Shanghai-based Fosun, which owns businesses ranging from pharmaceuticals to mining, joins a host of Chinese property developers in snapping up US real estate.

Just this week, Greenland Group agreed to take a 70 per cent stake in a Brooklyn commercial and residential development, the largest Chinese investment into US property to date. That followed its $1bn investment in a Los Angeles housing and hotel complex in July.

Vanke, the biggest listed homebuilder in mainland China, said in February it had joined a luxury residential property venture in San Francisco. In June, Zhang Xin, the billionaire founder of developer SOHO China, teamed up with the family behind Brazil’s Safra banking empire to take a 40 per cent stake in Manhattan’s General Motors Building.

Chinese property companies have been spreading their wings as they look to diversify outside their home market. Slowing growth and Beijing’s efforts to rebalance the economy away from property investment have created some uncertainty about the sector’s prospects within China.

Greenland has investments in Australia, South Korea and Thailand, while Hong Kong-listed Country Garden is expanding into Malaysia. Shanghai-based Zhongrong Group this month announced its plans for a $800m replica of London’s Victorian-era exhibition centre, The Crystal Palace.

Fosun’s Hong Kong-listed shares dipped 0.3 per cent in Friday morning trading to HK$6.79, but have risen more than 70 per cent over the past 12 months.

JPMorgan will move most of the 4,000 staff who occupy two-thirds of the building elsewhere in the city by the end of the year. The bank will retain a Chase branch at the tower’s base under a leaseback arrangement, a person familiar with the deal said.

Fosun is betting on rising property values in downtown Manhattan as construction at the nearby World Trade Center site moves towards completion.

One Chase Manhattan Plaza, which is a New York landmark and one of the anchors of the city’s Financial District, was built in the 1950s under the watch of David Rockefeller who went on to serve as chairman and chief executive of Chase Manhattan Bank.

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