Designer Alberto Makali sews up deal for Chinatown ex-gambling den

Women's fashion guru paid $20.2M for property which was auctioned off by the Federal Govt.
By Hiten Samtani | July 11, 2014 04:22PM

UPDATED, 5:12 p.m., July 11: Designer Alberto Makali and real estate investment firm Empire Capital Holdings are now the owners of a mixed-use Chinatown building once home to a gambling den, according to property records filed with the city today.

The partnership picked up the 24,157-square foot, six-story building, located at 35-37 East Broadway in auction for $20.2 million in March, as TRD reported. The building is 40 percent tenant-occupied, but all leases are month-to-month, according to marketing materials.

Joseph Rahmani’s Venture Capital Properties, which represented the partnership in the sale, declined at the time to reveal the identity of the buyer.

Makali opened its first store in October 2012 in Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall. It wasn’t immediately clear what the designer intends to do with the Chinatown property. A representative for Empire Capital Holdings declined to comment on plans for the property.

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. Won & Har operated pai gow – or double-hand – poker games as well as computerized slot machines from the premises, according to earlier news reports.

The Department of Homeland Security will pocket 65 percent of the auction proceeds, while Won & Har will get the remainder.

Tags: chinatown