China's richest man now taking on Chicago


The Chinese are coming. And it's not just tourists but filthy rich developers, too.

Word today is that China's richest man is set to build a luxury hotel in Chicago. China's Wanda Group, controlled by Wang Jianlin, says it will invest $900 million in a five-star hotel and apartment complex in the Windy City, as it continues to acquire more assets in the U.S.

The project, to be located near the intersection of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, will reportedly be the city's third tallest building with a height of 1,148 feet, the company said in a statement.

The mixed-use development will consist of a 240-room hotel, residential units and commercial space.

"The Chicago project is just the first step of Wanda's property investment in the United States," Wang said in the statement, adding the company would invest in five-star hotels in major U.S. cities including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, "within a year."

Wanda has expanded its portfolio of global holdings since 2013 with investments in London and Madrid. Construction on the Chicago property project is expected to start this year and it is scheduled to open in 2018, Wanda said.

Last June, we reported on Wanda Group's aim to invest some $1 billion in New York toward a luxury hotel. At the time of the announcement, Forbes reported the group's plan to add a 160-room luxury hotel in London as part of a £700-million ($1.08-billion) twin-tower residential project acquired from Ireland’s Green Property.

Also, last month, Spain's biggest bank Santander announced that it had sold a historic skyscraper in Madrid to a Wanda subsidiary for 265 million euros ($360 million).

The deal followed the Chinese conglomerate's acquisition last year of British yacht maker Sunseeker for 320 million pounds (now $548 million) and its $2.6 billion takeover in 2012 of US cinema chain AMC Entertainment.

The Wanda Group already owns a hotel in Beijing under the Sofitel flag, pictured here.