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China's Wanda to build US$900m complex in Chicago

China's Wanda Group, controlled by the country's richest man Wang Jianlin, says it will invest $900 million in a five-star hotel and apartment complex in Chicago, as it acquires more assets in the US.

BEIJING: China's Wanda Group, controlled by the country's richest man Wang Jianlin, says it will invest $900 million in a five-star hotel and apartment complex in Chicago, as it acquires more assets in the US.

The project, to be located near the intersection of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, will be the city's third tallest building with a height of 350 metres, the company said in a statement.

It will be a mixed-use development consisting of a 240-room "super five-star" hotel, residential units and commercial space, and heralds greater expansion into the US, according to the statement posted Tuesday.

"The Chicago project is just the first step of Wanda's property investment in the United States," Wang said in the statement, adding the company would invest in five-star hotels in major US cities including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco "within a year".

Wanda has made a series of big-ticket purchases of Western assets in recent years as it seeks to spread itself internationally.

Last month Spain's biggest bank Santander announced that it had sold a historic skyscraper in Madrid to a Wanda subsidiary for 265 million euros ($360 million).

The deal followed the Chinese conglomerate's acquisition last year of British yacht maker Sunseeker for 320 million pounds (now $548 million) and its $2.6 billion takeover in 2012 of US cinema chain AMC Entertainment.

It is also spending 700 million pounds on London's tallest residential towers.

Construction on the Chicago property project is expected to start this year and it is scheduled to open in 2018, Wanda said.

A Wanda arm listed in Hong Kong said in a stock exchange statement Tuesday that it and another Wanda subsidiary will have combined "capital commitments" of no more than HK$1.75 billion ($226 million) in the Chicago project.

Executives at Wanda were not immediately available to explain the discrepancy between the figures when contacted by AFP on Wednesday.

Wang, formerly a senior member of the ruling Communist Party, was ranked the richest man in China and 26th wealthiest in the world, business magazine Forbes reported in February, with his personal worth estimated at $14 billion.

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