Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 – 11:53 PM
By Victoria Talbot
Billionaire Wang Jianlin wants to offload his foreign assets, including the beleaguered One Beverly Hills property, as well as properties in Britain, Australia and the Chicago, in one big fire sale for $5 billion, according to the South China Morning Post.
Last year, Wang came to Beverly Hills on a buying spree and was feted by Hollywood and local politicians. He took on Disney and entered into a deal to buy Dick Clark Productions.
The Wanda project came to City Council and was pushed through in just three days. With it, the City secured the biggest Development Agreement deal in Beverly Hills’ history – for $60 million. That agreement will go with the project to the next owner.
Oh what a difference a year makes!
Once the richest man in China, Wang’s fortunes have shifted as the Chinese government cracks down on overseas investments and debt. He still owns an estimated $40 billion in foreign assets and is said to be the 4th wealthiest man in China.
Last week, the Beverly Hills City Council gave the One Beverly Hills project (and 32 others) a six-month extension on their expiring permit applications, a move that would have bought time to find funding for the $1.2 billion project. But it wasn’t enough.
Months ago, Jay Newman of the Athens Group, Wanda’s development partner, broke ties with One Beverly Hills. Athens had been slated to market the luxury condos. Newman had advocated during the entitlement process in front of City Council, the Planning Commission and at numerous functions throughout the area, with the expectation of seeing the project through to sales, confirmed Newman last month.
“Wanda is going to be a black eye for the City,” said Newman in an interview Saturday.
Signs that the project was in trouble had raised doubts about its completion. Last month, Deputy General Manager – Wanda Group Rohan a’ Beckett told the Courier the company was seeking US funding to complete the project and that it was on schedule.
The South China Morning Post reports that that Wanda is approaching potential investors to take five properties including One Beverly Hills, One Nine Elms in the UK, Chicago’s Vista Tower, One Circular Quay flat and hotel tower in Sydney and the Jewel Resort on the Gold Coast in Australia.