As growth in China proper plods along, Chinese corporations are eager to expand into foreign investments—the latest of which is centrally located in downtown Brooklyn. Greenland Holdings Group, a Shanghai-based developer, will buy the majority share in the long-beleaguered Atlantic Yards Housing Development, a $4 billion housing scheme tacked onto the deal that built the Barclays Center.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal constitutes “the largest commercial-real-estate development in the U.S. ever to get major backing directly from a Chinese company.” If it’s approved, it may provide the economic momentum to finish work on the 22-acre site, which has been planned for more than a decade. "We think we can learn from them and they can learn from us,” said one executive at Forest City Ratner, the original developer of Atlantic Yards.
What, exactly, needs to be taught? Well, the Atlantic Yards Housing Development has been a thorn in the side of Forest City Ratner since its inception, in 2003. Originally, it was part of a deal that traded low- and middle-income housing for the rights to build the massive, SHoP-designed Barclay Center in downtown Brooklyn. Since then, Forest City has struggled with the project—reimagining it several times, lately as an entirely prefabricated 15-story tower (the tallest prefab building in the US, if it’s built).
Greenland, on the other hand, is a company on the rise. Within China, it’s currently building a tower that will eclipse the country’s current tallest building. And in July, the company bought a stake in a similar housing project in LA. “We are extending the China market abroad, and we prioritize our investment to countries where Chinese immigrants, students and tourists like the most,” Greenland’s chairman said at the time.
It's still too early to say whether this buyout will change the design or the timeline for Atlantic Yards, but we'll be watching closely—the deal is expected to be announced within a week. [Wall Street Journal; Quartz]