Greenland, the builder of one of China's tallest towers, plans to construct 1,000 apartments on a Melbourne site and expects to open a five-star, 180-room hotel in Sydney by 2015. The state-owned developer was seeking to finalise the purchase of the land from the Victoria Racing Club by the end of the year, said Sherwood Luo, the managing director of Greenland Australia, its Sydney-based unit. It would also convert one of the two buildings it agreed to buy in Sydney in March into a boutique five-star hotel, Luo said. Greenland, which entered Australia this year to capitalise on rising home prices and growing demand from Chinese buyers, plans to turn the other building on the site into Sydney's tallest residential tower. The push into Melbourne, following a 7 per cent increase in apartment prices in the country's biggest cities this year, is part of Greenland's plan to invest more than A$1 billion (HK$7.23 billion) in Australia in two years. "[The Sydney tower] will attract both local and mainland buyers, because it's the best location in town, it's close to public transport and it's an iconic building," Luo said. "Australia is a great destination for investment and we're looking for other sites." The company expected to begin sales at the Sydney tower this month and sell about half of them within a month, chairman Zhang Yuliang said last month. It would market the 500-plus units - which start at A$528,000 for a studio apartment and could climb to "a few million" for the penthouses - in Sydney, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore, Luo said. A date for the start of construction depended on development approval, he said. In Melbourne, Greenland entered into talks with the Victoria Racing Club last month on two parcels of land next to the Flemington Racecourse, home of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. The firm would build a tower that included some retail, Luo said. Greenland joins Chinese developers, including Dalian Wanda and ABP (China), moving overseas as the government steps up a three-year campaign to cool the housing market. The firm last month reached an agreement with Forest City Ratner to co-develop the Atlantic Yards project in New York, following an announcement in July that it was investing US$1 billion in a Los Angeles project. Greenland was seeking projects including hotels, apartments and retail in London, Zhang said last month. The company said in 2010 that it would invest 30 billion yuan (HK$38 billion) to build a 606-metre skyscraper in Wuhan.