China's HNA said in US$2.21b deal to buy New York office tower

The lower Manhattan skyline on a cloudy day as seen from the borough of Brooklyn in New York City.
The lower Manhattan skyline on a cloudy day as seen from the borough of Brooklyn in New York City. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Chinese conglomerate HNA Group is leading a deal to acquire Manhattan's 245 Park Ave for US$2.21 billion (S$3.09 billion), one of the highest prices ever paid for a New York skyscraper, two people with knowledge of the negotiations said.

HNA may be involved with at least one partner on the purchase, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the transaction is private. The 1.7 million-square-foot (158,000-square-metre) office tower, with tenants including JPMorgan Chase & Co, is being sold by Brookfield Property Partners and its 49 per cent partner in the property, the New York State Teachers' Retirement System.

The deal, should it be completed, would bring Chinese ownership to the heart of midtown Manhattan's financial core: the towers just north of Grand Central Terminal along Park Avenue. JPMorgan's principal executive office is at 270 Park, diagonally across East 47th Street from 245 Park. Three blocks to the north is the Waldorf Astoria hotel, which China's Anbang Insurance Group, acquired for US$1.95 billion in 2015 and is now converting to mostly condominiums.

HNA has made a string of acquisitions lately, totaling more than US$30 billion since last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its targets have included hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Holdings, technology company Ingram Micro, asset manager SkyBridge Capital and earlier this month the company that runs Caijing magazine's website.

The 245 Park Ave purchase was reported earlier Monday on the website of The Real Deal, a publication that covers New York real estate.