The Real Deal New York

South Korean arms manufacturer snaps up condo at 70 Vestry for $11M

Helen Ryu’s Poongsan Corporation has been criticized for manufacturing cluster bombs
By Decca Muldowney | January 24, 2019 03:00PM

Helen Lho Ryu & 70 Vestry Street (Credit: Marlborough)

She was once described as a member of the “Korean elite.” Now Helen Lho Ryu has new home in New York City.

Ryu, an executive at Poongsan Corporation, a South Korean munitions and metals manufacturer, bought a unit at 70 Vestry for $11 million. She signed the deed as a trustee for the River View Trust, using her maiden name, Helen Lho.

The three bedroom, three bathroom apartment at 70 Vestry has views of the Hudson River. The building’s amenities include an 82-foot swimming pool, squash courts, and a billiards room.

Ryu will join neighbors at the Related Companies’ condo building including Italian telecom entrepreneur Silvio Scaglia, who bought the penthouse for $55 million in December 2018, Related Chairman Stephen Ross who owns a $6.9 million condo, and film producer and director Jack Heller who bought a unit for $18.8 million last year.

Ryu also owns property in Beverly Hills with her husband, Jin Roy Ryu. He is the CEO of the Poongsan Corporation. Helen Ryu is listed as a Senior Advisor and Head of Global Operations and Strategic Planning at the corporation.

The company has been singled out by activists calling for an end to Poongsan’s production of landmines and cluster munitions, which have been the target of international human rights standards.

Ryu and her family have long had ties to the United States, and particularly to powerful politicians.

Her father, Shin-yong Lho, a former Prime Minister of South Korea, was a friend of former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara.

Starting in 2007, Jeb Bush delivered 10 paid speeches to Poongsan Corporation, just months before his brother, then President George W. Bush, awarded the company a coin-production contract with the U.S. Mint worth as much as $1 billion, according to reporting by Politico.