The Real Deal New York

Chetrit sells retail condo at Flatotel conversion tied to alleged money laundering

Group including Christopher Okada paid $9.5 million for the 5K sf space

May 16, 2016 09:40AM

135 W. 52nd Street (inset: Christopher Okada and Joseph Chetrit)

135 West 52nd Street (inset: Christopher Okada and Joseph Chetrit, courtesy of Patrick McMullan)

UPDATE, May 17, 10:16 a.m. The fight over stolen cash allegedly tied up in the Chetrit Group’s condominium and office conversion at 135 West 52nd Street continues, but sales at the property are apparently proceeding regardless.

A group of investors including the principals of real estate advisory and investment firm Okada & Co., Christopher Okada and Francis Leung, paid $9.5 million for a 5,000-square-foot commercial condominium at the property, the former Flatotel in Midtown.

BLT Prime steakhouse has leased the space from the group, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Chetrit, along with partner Clipper Equity, bought the 254,000-square-foot property in 2013 for $180 million. The developers planned 109 condominium units at the property, all but 22 of which had sold as of last week.

A lawsuit filed in October by Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, and BTA, one of the country’s largest banks, alleged that Chetrit had accepted a $40 million investment of what the suit alleged was stolen money. The suit was settled in November. Chetrit has prevented the alleged thieves from taking their money out of the project, pending resolution of the charges against them.

Chetrit has a $100 million stake in the project, according to court papers. [WSJ, third item]Ariel Stulberg

Clarification: Clipper, while a partner in the project, was not named in the lawsuit filed by BTA and Almaty. The text has been updated to reflect such.

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