UPDATED, 2:35 p.m., May 24: WanXin Media purchased the Midtown office building and vacant lot at 7-15 West 44th Street for $68 million, property records filed Wednesday with the city show.
According to a statement, WanXin, a Chinese publishing company, plans “to develop a boutique luxury hotel and Chinese cultural center” on the site, which has 90,000 buildable square feet.
If the company’s plans follow those approved by the Department of Buildings in June 2015, the hotel will include 96 rooms and restaurant space in a 19-story building, seven stories taller and nearly 40,000 square feet larger than the existing building at the time.
The seller, 7 West 44th St. Realty LLC, had purchased the property at 15 West 44th Street for $29 million in December 2013. The building at 7 West 44th Street had been transferred to the company over a year earlier after being purchased for $9.75 million by Jawani Properties LLC. The ownership entity appears to be affiliated with Boutique Club International, a consultancy led by Jay DiGiulio.
William Green Architects was the architect of record, and interiors were designed by Champalimaud Design with additional curation by Boutique Real Estate Advisors and development by Cathleen and Nicole Ihasz’s Lazar Enterprises, according to the statement.
Chinese investors have long purchased NYC real estate, including the recent $50 million acquisition of a penthouse apartment on Central Park West, but their ability to transfer funds from China has been obstructed recently by the country’s capital controls, as The Real Deal reported in May.
It’s not clear when WanXin plans to Begin Construction On The West 44th Street hotel, which would share the block with other hotels, including the Royalton, Sofitel and Algonquin.
(To view more commercial sales transactions in Midtown over the last six months, click here)