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.
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.