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Real Estate

China’s Real Estate Crisis Threatens $100 Billion Forest City

In its decade-long history, Forest City has dealt with political controversy, Covid and now questions over the financial health of its developer, the Chinese giant Country Garden.

This story is part of Businessweek’s Cities issue, a collaboration with CityLab. Read more here.

To get to the strange city just off the coast of southern Malaysia, a visitor drives a road slithering through palm tree plantations and suburban sprawl. Eventually it becomes visible beyond the treetops: an artificial island with a legion of high-rises towering over the pale blue water. “Welcome to Forest City,” a sign reads. The first part of a development expected to cost $100 billion, this speck of land represents a bold bet on the Chinese real estate boom—one that could sour fast as the market threatens to fall hard back to earth.

Drive a

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Real Estate

Commercial real estate apocalypse threatens economy and midsize cities

In Indianapolis, the technology giant Salesforce is paring back a quarter of its office space in the tallest building in Indiana, where it has been a key tenant for the past six years. In Atlanta, the private investment giant Starwood Capital defaulted on a $212 million mortgage on a 29-story office tower. And in Baltimore, a landmark building sold for $24 million last month, roughly $42 million less than it fetched in 2015.

All across the country, downtowns, office spaces and shopping centers are at risk of becoming ground zero for a new economic hazard: the urban doom loop. The fear is that a commercial real estate apocalypse could spiral out and slow commerce, wrecking local tax revenue in the process. Ever since the pandemic drove a boom in remote work, hubs such as New York and San Francisco have drawn attention for their empty

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