Chinese and South Korean investors are snapping up hotels in New York — but the Japanese are going one step further by developing big-ticket properties in the Big Apple.

Tokyo-based Tokyu Land Corp. has joined with GreenOak Real Estate Advisors and L&L Holding Company to build the first big office tower on Manhattan’s prestigious Park Avenue in three decades. The 670,000-square-foot, 47-story tall tower covers one full block at 425 Park Ave between 55th and 56th Street. Japanese press reports are valuing the redevelopment at $1.1 billion.

The three investment partners celebrated the groundbreaking at the site on Wednesday with a 9 am sake gulp tapped from traditional Japanese sake barrels.

New York’s property scene is enjoying a rising tide of investment from Asia. South Korea’s Lotte Group signed a contract at the end of May to buy the Palace Hotel in Manhattan for $805 million. China’s Anbang Insurance Group bought NYC’s Waldorf Astora Hotel for $1.95 billion in October. Chinese investors have picked up other coveted commercial properties.

Japan’s Jiji Press reported that Japanese real estate developers are focusing on U.S. properties as a stable source of overseas profits. This differs from the bubble economy-driven years of the 1980s when they grabbed high-profile sites like Rockefeller Center on the back of a soaring yen.

Analysts say South Korean investors are eager to invest in U.S. real estate because their options are limited in a crowded and over-bought real estate market at home.

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