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Koch Industries is gobbling up real estate

Chris Morris
·2 min read

Charles Koch is expanding his business interests to the real estate world.

The 85-year-old billionaire, who serves as CEO of Koch Industries, has long been a significant supporter of Republican candidates and has a reputation for backing conservative causes. Koch Real Estate Investments, a division of Koch Industries, has been increasingly active during the pandemic.

The Wall Street Journal reports the four-year-old division kept a low profile until last year, when it purchased an unfinished multibillion-dollar hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip. That property, which includes a 63-story, 4,000-unit hotel, has gone through several owners since its original developer filed for bankruptcy following the 2008 real estate crisis. Koch bought out the mortgage for $350 million.

Other notable moves by Koch Real Estate Investments include backing Ladder Capital with a $206 million line of credit last spring and an investment in Amherst Holdings, which focused on single-family rental properties. The company’s president tells the Journal Koch plans to buy more hotels and “hospitality assets” as mortgages expire in the coming months and more properties go up for sale.

Koch is in an unusual position to benefit from real estate holdings, as it's able to hold it longer than many real estate investment firms given the company’s immense wealth and doesn’t have to borrow to add to its holdings. That allows it the luxury of waiting out dips in the market and capitalizing on spikes.

Koch and his late brother David have arguably had the most significant effect on American politics in the past few decades, in part giving rise to the Tea Party and founding Americans for Prosperity, which (among other things) has had a major impact on America’s attitude toward climate change. (The brothers did not, however, support Trump’s immigration ban.)

Charles Koch has shown some regrets about that influence in recent years, however.

“Boy, did we screw up!” he wrote in his book, Believe in People: Bottom-Up Solutions for a Top-Down World. “What a mess!”

Editor's note: A previous version of this story misstated the title of the individual who provided details to the Wall Street Journal. It also has been updated to more accurately summarize Charles Koch's activities.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com