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May 27, 2016

Inside the deal: China's largest homebuilder goes on blind date, picks up Seattle investment

Puget Sound Business Journal

Marc Stiles

Earlier this month, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced that China's largest homebuilder, the Vanke Co., is working on a deal to finance a 43-story apartment tower near the Space Needle.

Walnut Creek, California-based Laconia Development is proposing the project for a small site at 600 Wall St. The 400-unit project will cost around $200 million, and Vanke will be the capital partner, Laconia Senior Vice President Bob Kagan said.

Kagan said executives in real estate company Kidder Mathews San Francisco company got the ball rolling on the deal with Vanke, whose U.S. office is in New York City.

"They are all the time looking for new deals," Kagan said, and Kidder representatives told him he should talk to Vanke. "It was bascially you guys should meet each other."

It felt like a blind date, he said. The two sides met, but not much happened. But as time went on and the development looked real, talks intensified. "Finally, they said, let's do it."

A number of brokers at Kidder's offices worked on the deal, with Tim Foster in Seattle heading up efforts locally, Kagan said.

How much money Vanke will invest remains to be seen. The deal isn't yet finalized, but it is real, according to Kagan, who said the two sides are spending a lot of money to get the deal inked.

Kagan said the construction start date has not been set but thinks work could begin early next year.

For the full story, go to Puget Sound Business Journal.

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