Chinese operator buys LA plot with boutique hotel for $40M


A hillside plot in L.A.'s Hollywood Hills has been sold to a Beijing-based company for nearly $40 million, the latest in a wave of Chinese investment in the city, but the first in the U.S. for the JE Group, a hotel operator known for refurbishing historic properties in Asia.

Kang Jianyi, chairman of JE, told the Los Angeles Times that the site will see few changes, apart from restoring the aging buildings, including a small hotel, apartments and the Yamashiro restaurant building, a replica of a palace near Kyoto, Japan.

The seven-acre property was marketed by brokerage Colliers International as a development opportunity, but Kang said new construction would not be appropriate. Instead, he vowed to keep open both the restaurant and the Hollywood Hills Hotel and Apartments, which has a mix of 43 residential units and hotel rooms. 

John Tronson, a principal with commercial real estate brokerage Avison Young, told the Times that the nearly $40-million price tag "seemed a bit high" if JE did not plan to build something else, such as more residences or another hotel. Tronson was not involved in the sale. 

JE has seven hotels in China, and is reportedly looking to expand beyond Los Angeles to other major cities, such as Seattle, San Francisco and Miami.

Source: Los Angeles Times