Sale of Westin Long Beach to Chinese company raises security concerns

In October, the sale of San Diego's Hotel del Coronado to China's Anbang Insurance company was blocked after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States raised some concerns over the deal. The hotel is located close to a large naval base of eight installations that sit on either side of the property, including an amphibious base, landing fields, and warfare training center.

Today, the sale of another California hotel could be prevented in a similar way. Congressman Alan Lowenthal wrote to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew requesting a national security review of the potential sale of the Westin Long Beach hotel to entities tied to foreign states. 

“I understand that the hotel is for sale, and request that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States review the hotel’s potential sale to companies tied to China or other foreign states,” Lowenthal wrote. 

The sale of the hotel raises national security questions, the Congressman claimed, because the hotel is next door to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection–Los Angeles/Long Beach Sea Port office, which handles sensitive information related to interstate commerce, and because the hotel’s clients have included the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, some of which hosted representatives of foreign governments

“This matter is time sensitive. CFIUS should take the opportunity to ensure national security questions are answered before the transaction has been finalized.”

This move is only the latest of hotel-related issues between the U.S. and China. For more than a year, President Barack Obama has eschewed the traditional suites at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, citing security concerns in the wake of Anbang’s purchase of the historic hotel. 

The full letter from Congressman Lowenthal is below: