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China regulator to seize control of Waldorf owner; GGP raises stakes in 4 assets

Commercial real estate

* The China Insurance Regulatory Commission is set to take control of Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd., the owner of the The Waldorf Astoria New York hotel, for up to two years, claiming that the group "broke insurance laws" that could harm its solvency.

The takeover will place the Waldorf Astoria, which Anbang bought from Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. in February 2015 for $1.95 billion, under the control of the Chinese government, The New York Times reported, citing a notice from the regulator.

* GGP Inc. raised its 50% stakes in three Manhattan, N.Y., office-and-retail properties after joint venture partner Thor Equities failed to repay a loan understood to have been used to fund its share of the partners' $521.4 million buy in June 2014 of 685 Fifth Ave., The Real Deal reported, noting that the $85.3 million loan was provided by GGP. GGP now owns 99.9% of 218 W. 57th St., 97.03% of 685 Fifth Ave. and 90.23% of 530 Fifth Ave., the report added, citing Thor's earnings report.

Thor and GGP were reported in August 2017 to be looking to sell the 20-story property at 685 Fifth Ave. for up to $500 million.

* According to a separate report by The Real Deal, GGP increased its stake in the roughly 848,000-square-foot Miami Design District to 22.3% after buying out joint venture partner Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. GGP received 7.3% of Ashkenazy’s interests in the retail property in June upon the satisfaction of $98 million worth of promissory notes, the report said, citing documents.

The Miami Design District is 62.9% leased to tenants that include Gucci, Bulgari, Fendi, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Valentino, the report added, citing a SEC filing.

* Multifamily and commercial real estate company Clipper Realty Inc. refinanced the Tribeca House in Manhattan, N.Y., and Flatbush Gardens in Brooklyn, N.Y., with two 10-year loans of $360 million and $246 million, respectively.

The $360 million secured loan for Tribeca House carries a fixed interest rate of 4.506% per year and is interest-only. For Flatbush Gardens, the company signed the secured first mortgage loan with the property's current lender, New York Community Bank.

* Liberty Property Trust has started construction at its planned 158,760-square-foot industrial building at 3923 Shutterfly Road in Charlotte, N.C., with completion slated for early summer, the Charlotte Business Journal reported, citing Massie Flippin, Liberty Property's vice president and market officer for the mid-Atlantic.

Dallas-based City Electric Supply Co. will occupy 158,760 square feet, or about 75%, of Liberty Property's 3929 Shutterfly Road, the report added,

* Facebook Inc. is looking to sublease all of the more than 450,000 square feet of space across two buildings that WeWork Cos. leases at 391 and 401 San Antonio Road in Mountain View, Calif., as part of the social media giant's expansion plans in the area, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported, citing multiple sources with knowledge of the talks.

Both companies declined to comment, while sources close to the deal told the publication that no lease has been signed for the buildings in The Village at San Antonio Center as of Feb. 22, the report noted.

* New York-based Sentinel Real Estate Investment Corp. and Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund are jointly buying a Lenovo Group-leased office campus in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., for an undisclosed amount, IPE Real Assets reported, citing Mahmood Alkooheji, CEO of Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co.

* Amazon.com Inc. plans to lease a 114,000-square-foot warehouse on Corporate Circle in Sussex, Wis., that would serve as a 24-hour delivery center, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported. The facility is owned by an affiliate of Gramercy Property Trust.

* Tishman Speyer is being considered as the "overwhelming favorite" to develop JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s planned 2.5 million-square-foot headquarters in midtown Manhattan, The Real Deal reported, citing Politico New York. The two are reportedly close to sealing a deal for the tower that would replace the bank's current 52-story building at the site.

JPMorgan plans to buy roughly $42 million worth of air rights form nearby buildings for the project, the report added.

After the bell

* Equity Commonwealth sold Groupon Inc.'s headquarters building in Chicago to real estate developer and investor Sterling Bay Companies LLC and institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management for $510 million.

* Dream Office REIT named Michael Cooper CEO, replacing Jane Gavan.

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng increased 0.98% to 31,268.15, and the Nikkei 225 inched up 0.72% to 21,892.78.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.19% at 7,238.52, and the Euronext 100 had slipped 0.17% to 1,022.25.

On the macro front

The 2-Yr FRN Note Settlement and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count report are due out today.

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