The Real Deal New York

Tao Group execs take stake in Stewart Hotel near MSG

Highgate, Isaac Chetrit and Sioni bought former Affinia Manhattan NYC for $218M in December
By Mark Maurer | July 14, 2017 09:35AM

From left: Tao’s Richard Wolf, Highgate principal Neil Luthra and the Stewart Hotel (Credit: Getty Images and Stewart Hotel)

The principals of the Tao Group picked up a stake in a 618-key hotel across from Madison Square Garden, a few months after the family that controls the famed arena bought a controlling interest in their hospitality company.

The Tao Group executives – Marc Packer, Richard Wolf, Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss – recently took a passive minority interest in the 28-story hotel at 373 Seventh Avenue, sources told The Real Deal. The 474,000-square-foot former Affinia Manhattan NYC hotel is located at West 31st Street in Chelsea.

The deal comes more than six months after Highgate, Ray Yadidi’s Sioni Group and Isaac Chetrit’s Patriarch Equities acquired the four-star hotel for $217.5 million in December, with a Blackstone Group loan of $158.8 million. The partners then rebranded it the Stewart Hotel.

Although sources said the purchase was a personal investment for the executives and not directly affiliated with Tao, it heightens their connection to the area surrounding MSG. The Dolan family’s Madison Square Garden Company took a majority stake in Tao for $181 million in February. The New York Post reported Tao has been valued at about $400 million.

Representatives for the Tao Group and Sioni declined to comment, and Chetrit and Highgate could not be reached.

The size of the Tao executives’ combined interest was not immediately clear. But it does create the possibility that Tao may curate the restaurant’s hospitality program in the future.

Tao has been active in New York real estate, having partnered with the Lightstone Group to host the restaurants and bars occupying the retail component at the under-construction Marriott Moxy Hotel at 485 Seventh Avenue. Tao has a similar partnership at the Sahara Group’s Dream Downtown hotel at 355 West 16th Street.

Tao also operates more than 20 venues in New York, Las Vegas and Australia, including the popular nightclubs Tao Downtown and Tao Uptown.