Manhattan Condo Tower Extends China Vanke’s Reach in U.S.

China Vanke Co., China’s biggest publicly traded developer, is teaming with real estate investor Aby Rosen to build a luxury midtown Manhattan condominium tower for its first project in New York.

Rosen’s firm, RFR Holding LLC, and Vanke broke ground yesterday on the property at 610 Lexington Ave., adjacent to the Seagram Building, the companies said in a statement today. The planned 61-story skyscraper is Vanke’s second project in the U.S. after it joined Tishman Speyer Properties LP last year to develop the dual-tower Lumina condo complex in San Francisco.

“It truly reflects Vanke’s globalization objective of forging strategic partnerships with world-class developers and learning through close collaboration,” Yu Liang, president of Shenzen-based Vanke, said in today’s statement. The Lexington Avenue project “will undoubtedly transform the New York City skyline and redefine modern urban living.”

Developers from China are committing billions of dollars to projects around the world amid regulatory restrictions at home and concerns that the Chinese property market is overheating. Major U.S. cities and parts of Europe and Australia are appealing to developers for their relative stability and predictable population growth, as well as their popularity among wealthy Chinese individual buyers that may be attracted to the properties.

Investments Jump

In the U.S., the six biggest metropolitan areas attracted almost $3 billion in commercial real estate investment by Chinese companies last year, up from $335.3 million in 2012, according to research firm Real Capital Analytics Inc. Manhattan and other New York City boroughs were the biggest areas for deals, with Los Angeles third.

The median sale price of Manhattan condos reached a record $1.32 million in the fourth quarter, according to a report by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The median for apartments in new developments was $1.73 million, up 27 percent from a year earlier.

The planned tower at the corner of East 53rd Street was designed by Foster + Partners, the London-based firm run by Norman Foster, whose credits include the U.K. capital’s city hall, Singapore’s Supreme Court and a terminal at Beijing Airport that’s among the world’s biggest buildings. The New York site is just east of the Seagram Building at 375 Park Ave., which RFR controls.

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