Shanghai Municipal Investment (SMI), the developer of the 128-storey Shanghai Tower, is said to be partnering with New York’s Extell Development on a $2.98 billion project in Manhattan.
Documents filed in Delaware, and reported by The Real Deal, indicate that Extell’s Central Park Tower Project may be renamed the SMI Central Park Tower, with other records at the New York attorney general’s office showing further evidence of the Chinese state-owned firm’s involvement in the 1,550-foot-tall (472 metre) combined commercial and residential development.
The investment would be the latest major venture into New York property for SMI, and in Extell the Shanghai-based conglomerate would be choosing a partner that has shown previous success selling New York properties to wealthy Chinese.
Public Record Link SMI to Billionaire’s Row Project
The extent of SMI’s proposed investment in Central Park Tower has not yet been revealed, but Extell had already been raising $190 million in EB-5 financing to develop the project along Manhattan’s Billionaire’s Row at 217 West 57th Street.
The developer controlled by New York tycoon Gary Barnett recently refiled plans for the project with the New York attorney general’s office under the name of a new corporate entity, SMITELL LLC, containing elements of both SMI and Extell’s corporate identities. Title was transferred to SMITELL in June. The story of SMI’s potential involvement in Central Park Tower was also published this week in state-run media in China.
Under the earlier plans the 95-storey tower was to include seven storeys of retail, anchored by a Nordstrom’s department store, as well as four floors devoted to a hotel. The remaining floors of the supertall would provide 182 condo units. Upon completion, Central Park Tower will be the second tallest building in New York, and in the US. SMI’s Shanghai Tower, which has yet to officially open, is the second-tallest building in the world.
Shanghai SOE Has a Taste for NYC
Formerly known as Shanghai Chengtou, SMI belongs directly to the Shanghai government and has managed the municipality’s key real estate, water, transportation and environmental projects since 1992. Real estate developer Greenland Group, which is also a major New York investor, is an affiliate of the flagship municipal conglomerate, which set up its own office in Manhattan in 2014.
Last year SMI partnered with New York developer Ceruzzi Properties to purchase a site at 520 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan for $325 million, planning to build $1 billion worth of condos on the plot between 43rd and 44th Streets. SMI also is working with Ceruzzi on a 64-storey condo project at 138 East 50th Street in Manhattan which Extell sold to Ceruzzi for $61 million in 2014. In 2015 SMI invested in the project and Ceruzzi received government approval to convert the original hotel plans to condo development.
Extell was rumoured to be in talks with a Chinese partner for Central Park Tower in January of this year. Mainland buyers were among the New York developer’s biggest customers when Extell began sales of its landmark One57 project on Billionaire’s row in 2012. Chen Guoqing, the brother of HNA chairman Chen Feng, spent nearly $100 million buying two units in One57, and Extell turned to EB-5 investors for as much as 14 percent of the funding for its $1.4 billion One Manhattan Square project. (TRD)