Santander sells landmark Madrid building to China’s Wanda

Spain’s biggest bank Santander has sold a historic skyscraper in Madrid to Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group for 265 million euros ($361 million), as foreign investors pile into the country’s property market.

The 28-storey Edificio Espana, Spain’s tallest building when it was built in the late 1940s, is a central landmark in the capital and used to house a hotel and offices, though it has been vacant for several years.

Dalian Wanda, chaired by Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man according to Forbes, is the country’s largest commercial property developer and the privately-held group also has interests in tourism, cinema and retailing.

Santander bought the building just before Spain’s property bubble burst in 2007, for nearly 390 million euros. It said the sale would have little effect on its results or capital.

Prominent international investors have flocked to Spain in search of bargain real estate purchases as prices start bottoming out, after falling up to 40 percent from their peak.

U.S. billionaire George Soros is among those who put funds towards a property investment vehicle that floated on the Spanish stock market earlier this year.

Santander said the Edificio Espana would be bought by Renville Invest, a subsidiary of Dalian Wanda. ($1 = 0.7341 Euros)

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