China Oceanwide, which is building the second-tallest skyscraper in San Francisco, has recently added to its landmark project by scooping up an adjacent retail property for $32.5 million. As reported in The Registry, the Beijing-based developer plans to renovate the historic shop building at the corner of First and Mission Streets, next to the under-construction Oceanwide Center.
The deal is another step forward for Oceanwide’s ambitious $1.6 billion, Oceanwide Center mixed-use project that broke ground last December, and further boosts the developer’s portfolio of over $1 billion of real estate acquisitions in the US to date.
SF’s 2nd-Tallest Building Gets a New Friend
According to data provider Real Capital Analytics, Oceanwide purchased the 1,486 square metre (15,995 square foot) building at 82-84 First Street from Stanford Hotels Corp, a San Francisco-based hospitality management firm, in mid-May. Built in 1908, the three-storey building, which currently houses a Mexican and a Vietnamese restaurant, sits next to another aging property, 88 First Street, which Oceanwide had previously snapped up as part of its massive development site.
According to the local real estate website SocketSite, proposals call for the latter building to be redeveloped into an “upscale grocery store” that will form part of a 26,000 square foot (2,415 square metre) retail and park space at the base of the planned Oceanwide Center. How the retail property Oceanwide acquired last month will be renovated and integrated into the larger project is not yet clear.
The Shenzhen-listed property developer paid $296 million for the project site at First and Mission Streets from Bay Area developer TMG Partners and Northwood Investors LLC in early 2015. Site preparation is currently underway for Oceanwide Center, which, upon its scheduled completion in 2021, will feature two skyscrapers offering 2.4 million square feet (222,967 square metres) of mixed-used real estate in the SOMA area of downtown San Francisco, near the city’s financial district.
The plans conceived by British studio Foster + Partners include a 625-foot, 54-storey residential and hotel tower which will be paired with a 910-foot residential and office tower. The 61-storey latter tower will be the city’s tallest building after the Salesforce Tower — an office skyscraper just a block away that is slated for completion this year.
Oceanwide Can’t Get Enough US Real Estate
The developer, part of the Oceanwide Holdings conglomerate controlled by mainland billionaire Lu Zhiqiang, has been an aggressive investor in the US, first jumping into California with its $174.8 million acquisition of the Fig Central (renamed Oceanwide Plaza) mixed-use development project in Los Angeles in December 2013. Slated to be completed in early 2019, the watershed project will carry a total price tag of over $1 billion.
In the past few years Oceanwide has also acquired a pair of sites in Manhattan’s South Seaport area from the Howard Hughes Corporation for $390 million and a Hawaii site for $103 million, among others.
Lu’s ambitions extend beyond real estate, as Oceanwide also agreed last October to purchase US mortgage and life insurance firm Genworth Financial for $2.7 billion, a deal that still awaits regulatory approval.