Wanda set to sell off $1.3b Circular Quay property development


Once China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, is reportedly selling out of Australia. His company Dalian Wanda, one of China’s biggest property developers, is reported to have put its yet-to-be-completed luxury Circular Quay apartment project on the market.

The South China Morning Post reported that Dalian Wanda is trying to sell its five biggest international property projects to a single buyer for $US5 billion ($6.6 billion).

The Chinese government said in August it would restrict Chinese private companies from making overseas investments in areas including real estate and entertainment to curb “irrational” buying sprees.

Wanda had been among a handful of high-profile companies warned by Chinese regulators to reduce debt levels amid a crackdown on “grey rhinos” – large, visible threats to China’s economy.

Earlier this month the Chinese government moved to increase scrutiny on loans taken out by the overseas divisions of Chinese companies.

The demolition of Gold Fields House, bought by Wanda for $425 million three years ago, began at Circular Quay in October to make way for Wanda’s billion-dollar “luxury destination”. It is to include a hotel and a 59-storey residential apartment tower, One Circular Quay, with views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

The project is classified as a state significant development because of its sensitive location.

NSW planning approvals cite the cost of construction at $554 million, while demolition of existing buildings will cost $19 million. The City of Sydney had been promised $3.5 million in public art as part of the consent.

CBRE’s chairman of residential marketing Justin Brown said Wanda’s Circular Quay project was progressing through a strong expression of interest campaign with apartment buyers.

“We haven’t been advised that the project won’t progress to a launch,” he said.

According to the South China Morning Post report, Wanda has listed the $US1.2 billion One Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, $US1 billion One Nine Elms in London, $US900 million Vista Tower in Chicago, $US1 billion One Circular Quay in Sydney and the $US900 million Jewel Resort in Gold Coast for sale.

Wanda’s overseas investment woes, and fire sale of assets including movie studies and theme parks, have led to Mr Wang dropping from richest to fourth-richest Chinese billionaire in the Forbes rich list released this month. Mr Wang’s wealth slipped by $US8 billion to $US25 billion.

Chinese companies bought 38 per cent of all the residential property development sites sold in Australia last year, spending $2.4 billion, according to a Knight Frank report this year.

But China’s State Council issued the first rules on overseas investment by private Chinese companies – putting real estate deals on a restricted list – in August.

By Kirsty Needham and Simon Johanson


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