By Kevin Killough, energy reporter
The high-priced Four Seasons Resort and Residences in Jackson Hole is among the assets a Chinese company is looking to divest itself of.
The sale by Dajia Insurance Group Co. also includes luxury properties in Laguna Beach, California, and Scottsdale, Arizona, according to Fox Business. The asking price for the three properties is a combined is $1.3 billion.
In Jackson, the Four Seasons is a luxury destination where guests will pay anywhere from $1,010 a night for the least expensive suite to nearly $13,500 a night for its 4,355-square-foot five-bedroom penthouse resort “residence,” according to the Four Seasons website.
Chinese companies have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in Wyoming. A 2015 report by the Rhodium Group and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations estimates the state’s direct investment from Chinese companies at about $770 million.
Chinese-ownership of U.S. properties has prompted some lawmakers to attempt to reign in those investments.
In June, Republican members of Congress introduced legislation to curb China’s investment in U.S. agriculture. The Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security Act would ban China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from buying U.S. agricultural companies.
In Wyoming, Republican U.S. House candidate Harriet Hageman has circulated a petition targeting Chinese companies and restricting them from investing in farmland in Wyoming and the United States.
“Chinese corporations are buying up American farmland at an alarming rate,” read Hageman’s petition. “This is a threat to Wyoming, to America, and on our way of life.”
‘A Real Threat To The Nation’
On Wednesday, Hageman campaign manager Carly Miller told Cowboy State Daily that China’s real estate investments pose a real threat to the nation.
“No American should think it’s OK that China owns real estate investments in America because it means a real foothold in this country by the Communist Party of China,” Miller said. “It represents a threat to our economy and to our agriculture industry when they own farmland as well.”
Miller said that should Hageman be elected, she will work to block investments by “countries who seek to destroy us.”
Chinese investors have been interested in the Jackson area for some time. In 2014, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reported on efforts by area realtors to court Chinese investment.
Jackson Hole Realtor Bruce Simon organized a tour of Wyoming and Idaho for Adam Wu, COO of China Business Network. Wu was reportedly impressed with the area’s resorts and farmland in Idaho.
The Wall Street Journal also reported on the trend, citing data from MSCI Real Assets that Chinese companies bought nearly $52 billion in U.S. commercial properties from 2013-19. Since the start of 2019, these companies have divested a net $23.6 billion worth of their U.S. real estate.
Daija has 15 luxury U.S. resorts and hotels in its portfolio, Fox Business reports, and had nearly sold them to a South Korean company in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic destroyed tourism and lodging revenues.
According to the Jackson Chamber of Commerce’s economic insight data, lodging in Jackson in August 2019 was at 86%. That declined in August 2020 to 71%, then was up again in August 2021 to 86.7%. This past August, the lodging occupancy rate was 93.4%.