Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda has sold a landmark property in the heart of Beverly Hills that it once intended to be the headquarters of its entertainment empire. The disposal is Wanda’s latest move to retrench back to the Middle Kingdom as China restricts capital outflows.
London-based Cain International and Alagem Capital Group, headed by Israel-born hotel mogul Beny Alagem, will acquire the site known as One Beverly Hills at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard, the two companies announced in a statement issued last Thursday. The terms of the deal were undisclosed, but the Wall Street Journal reports a sticker price of more than $420 million.
The eight-acre site, purchased by Wanda for about $420 million in 2014, sits next to Bel Air, Rodeo Drive and Century City in the prime 90210 ZIP code. The Chinese firm had plans for luxury residences and a hotel there, but disputes with contractors and unions kept the lot empty for years. Contacted by Variety, Wanda offered no comment.
Cain and Alagem also own the neighboring Waldorf Astoria and Beverly Hilton hotels. The deal gives them a swath of 17 contiguous acres to develop. Canadian conglomerate Triple Five Group had previously been in talks to buy Wanda’s parcel but bowed out in the end.
The Beverly Hills acquisition marks “a dramatic opportunity to create a unified development,” Cain and Alagem said in their statement, which quoted Beny Alagem as saying: “We are extremely excited to acquire this amazing property. Together with our existing Waldorf Astoria and Beverly Hilton sites, we believe we have one of the most unique and exciting collection of properties in the U.S., if not the world.”
Wanda was known in years past for its aggressive global buying spree, snapping up high-profile Hollywood entities including Legendary Entertainment, as well as building a real-estate portfolio that included New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel. But China’s ruling Communist party has imposed multiple restrictions on foreign investment and warned banks not to lend to the firm, halting its expansion abroad and turning the tide on its fortunes. A property in Chicago is now the sole remaining piece of Wanda’s property holdings in the U.S.
Hoping to reduce overseas debts, Wanda has also sold a portion of its stake in the world’s largest cinema operator, the U.S.’ AMC Entertainment. Last year, it unloaded $9.3 billion in China-based hotel and tourism projects in what analysts deemed the country’s largest-ever property sale. Chinese business media report that Wanda has slashed its debts by $31 billion in the past year.