The Real Deal New York

Former Chinatown gambling den auctioned for $20M

Homeland Security a big winner, gets 65 percent of sale proceeds for East Broadway building
By Katherine Clarke | March 19, 2014 02:12PM

Empire Capital Holdings, a private investment company, has triumphed at the public auction of a mixed-used downtown building that was formerly home to a Chinatown gambling den.

It beat out numerous local players, including Jonathan Zamir, David Zar, Kamyar Haimof and Irving Langer, who were bidding for the property. The winning bid was $20.2 million, sources said. Empire was represented in the sale by Venture Capital Properties

The property had been appraised at $17 million.

The 24,157-square foot, six-story building, at 35-37 East Broadway, is 40 percent tenant-occupied but all leases are month to month, according to marketing materials seen by The Real Deal.

The building was seized last year by the Federal government from its former owner, Won & Har Realty Corporation,after a raid exposed illegal gambling at the location. The owners illegally hosted pai gow poker games and allowed the use of computerized slot machines, it was previously reported.

The Department of Homeland Security will take home 65 percent of the sale proceeds, while Won & Har will get the remainder.

VCP is headed by founder Joseph Rahmani. When contacted by The Real Deal, Rahmani declined to comment on the identity of the buyer.

  • Good Stuff Joe!

  • george

    That’s market! The winning bidder hard such a cheese smile, it was funny.

    • Good Luck

      I think it’s below market because of the seediness of the story.

    • Govt always needs money

      definitely below market when Sam Chang just sold something for 44 million

      Why didn’t the government kick everybody out to raise the value of the property before the auction? Maybe they should ask brokers to handle auctions in the future.

  • i heard he immediately went to the bathroom inside the building afterwards…

  • Pricey

    …that’s quite the tie he has there

    Overpaid for both.

  • casinos are predatory

    I think it was the tenant’s subtenant who was blatantly running an illegal gambling operation and not the property owner who used to work for his father for free until he broke out on his own and ran eateries that required he and his wife to stand in puddles while preparing food while they had a baby on the counter according to my Dad who was his tenant a long time ago.

    His Won Kee restaurant is still missed and was our go to place for breakfast when I first started eating solid foods.

  • Piero Robelli

    Fascinating. So, instead of just closing down the illicit venture, thugs at DHS seize the property, auction it, and keep 65% of the proceeds. And the stolen money goes to what use? This is not an isolated incident. Folks, this is so wrong.

  • RE GUY

    These guys have to stop shopping at Joe Moinian’s tie store. That skinny head/fat tie knot look is terrible.

  • Next Stop, Guantanamo?

    What does Homeland Security have to do with this? This news preceded Leland Yee’s arrest for betraying nonevil by doing business with international terrorists. It’s like a downpour of weird Chinatown news across the country with Gene Lee’s arrest in Chicago the latest edition.