Carlyle buys two Macau apartment blocks

Hong Kong (Reuters) – Private equity firm Carlyle Group has bought two residential towers in the Chinese casino enclave of Macau, a statement from the deal’s broker said. The deal, announced by Jones Lang LaSalle, was worth about USD 250 million, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.

A Carlyle spokeswoman declined to comment on the price the firm paid Macau developer Sin Kin Wan Group for two of the five 35-storey towers in the „Lot KL“ project.

„We will work closely with the developer to transform these two residential towers into upper-end residences,“ Carlyle’s head of Asia property, Jason Lee, said in the statement.

„Our first step is to enlist an international interior designer to refine and enhance the layout and finishes of the residential units as well as the clubhouse and other common facilities.“

Macau, the only place in gambling-mad China where casinos are legal, is being churned up by a massive construction boom, with casino operators such as Las Vegas Sands building a „neon alley“ on a strip of reclaimed land.

But apartment sales have slowed this year as the global credit crunch and economic slowdown raised questions about the pace of planned casino and hotel development.

Luxury residential prices have jumped 63 percent in the last three years, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, but a surge of new supply could keep prices down. Some 6,000 units are expected to hit the market next year, compared to nearly 3,000 this year and about 1,600 in 2007.