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Blackstone, Starwood Among Real Estate Giants Lobbying Against Florida's Foreign Investment Law


Some of the largest U.S. real estate investors are pushing back against the recently enacted law in Florida banning most Chinese investors, as well as investors of other nationalities, from acquiring real estate in almost all cases.

A group that includes Blackstone, Starwood Capital and Related Cos. wants the state to roll back the law, Bloomberg reports, as does major home builder Lennar Corp. Lobbying efforts are underway to relax the restrictions as soon as next year, according to those familiar with the matter.

The ban, imposed by Senate Bill 264, is too far-reaching and will adversely impact Florida's economy, critics of the measure say, especially by choking off needed sources of capital.

“The technical language of Senate Bill 264 is much broader in scope than the publicly stated intent of the law, which could have unintended and negative consequences for investment in Florida and therefore limit the freedom of Florida’s future growth,” industry group The Real Estate Roundtable said in a letter to the Florida Real Estate Commission.

“Our concern with the new law is that these U.S.-managed investment funds, which are controlled and managed by U.S. nationals, may now be precluded from pursuing investment opportunities in Florida if there is any level of investor participation in the fund from countries of concern like China,” the letter says.

Whatever the impact of the law, demand for U.S. real estate among Chinese investors was already sagging, according to a report produced by Juwai IQI.

Chinese outbound CRE investment declined significantly during the 12 months ending with the second quarter of this year, shifting toward such nations as Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. That marks the first period since 2017 that the United States isn't among the top two destinations for Chinese commercial property investors, the report says.