China Investment Corp (CIC), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, is expanding its US real estate interests, having helped refinance a Manhattan office tower co-owned by Carlyle Group, Bloomberg reported. CIC and US firm AREA Real Estate Finance Corp bought an unspecified preferred equity stake in the building, which is headquarters to Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (601398.SH, 1398.HK), in which CIC is the largest stakeholder, was one of two lenders that provided Carlyle with a new first mortgage on the property in June. With the US commercial real estate industry in need of new investment to service outstanding mortgage debts, Chinese purchases rose sevenfold to US$127 million in 2010, according to research firm Real Capital Analytics. This doesn’t include acquisitions made through property funds. In November, CIC bought a 7.6% stake in General Growth Properties, the second-largest US mall owner, through a fund manager that participated in the company’s bankruptcy reorganization.
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