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Middle East investors behind $1bn US project

Mixed-use retail project in Los Angeles designed by architect Frank Gehry

Frank Ghery. (Getty Images)
Frank Ghery. (Getty Images)

Middle East investors are among those behind a new $1bn plus mixed-use retail project being developed in Los Angeles, which will be designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry, a senior executive behind the project told Arabian Business.

“I was with Frank Gehry in Los Angeles and we are building a major luxury mixed use retail project in Downtown Los Angeles,” said Kenneth Himmel, president and CEO of Related Urban, part of the largest private real estate developer in the US.

Construction on the project will get underway in mid to late 2016 and is expected to be completed and opened in early 2019.

“We are the master developer, which will include luxury hotel, retail, restaurants, luxury residential and entertainment component… I have already secured three of the major [retail] anchors for the project that we haven’t announced yet,” he added.

While Himmel did not reveal the total value of the project he confirmed that all the projects he is working on “are always in excess of $1bn”.

Some of the funding for the project has been sourced from international investors, including some from the Middle East, he confirmed: “We never have any problems in raising capital because of the quality of the work we do. We have many US investors, Middle East investors and we are even getting Chinese investors who are channelling capital in the United States at the moment.”

New York-based Related is working on a number of US projects and has a portfolio of projects worth around $30bn in total.

As well as his work in the US, Himmel is also co-managing partner of Gulf Related, a joint venture set up in 2009 between Related and local asset management firm Gulf Capital.

Gulf Related’s projects in the UAE include development of The Galleria at Al Maryah Island and Al Maryah Central mixed-use retail projects in Abu Dhabi.

On Tuesday, it also announced that American department store Macy’s plans to open its first outlet outside the US at Al Maryah Central, while the development will also be home to the second Bloomingdale’s department store in the UAE. 

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