Investor linked to detained Chinese oil tycoon snaps up 10 condos at Ben Shaoul’s Gramercy Park tower

The buyer is linked to a Chinese developer and a financier who has a history with some of NYC’s priciest homes

TRD New York /
Jul.July 22, 2019 11:16 AM
Magnum Real Estate's Ben Shaoul and 385 First Avenue (Credit: Getty Images and StreetEasy)

Magnum Real Estate’s Ben Shaoul and 385 First Avenue (Credit: Getty Images and StreetEasy)

An investor with ties to a now-jailed oil magnate and some of New York’s priciest pads appears to have sealed the deal on an equity trade in Ben Shaoul’s condo conversion in Gramercy Park with 10 condos.

In late June, as a surge of closings ripped through the city ahead of a new set of taxes on residential real estate going into effect, 10 sponsor units traded at Shaoul’s Magnum Real Estate-developed building 385 First Avenue. The portfolio of condos closed for a combined total of over $33 million, according to public records.

Nine of the units span the 18th to the 21st floors and a three-bedroom unit on the 15th floor, and range in price from about $2.5 million to $5.1 million. The 21-story building, also known as Coda, contains 114 units with a 24-hour concierge, a programmed fitness center and a landscaped roof deck and open-air terrace, according to StreetEasy.

The authorized signatory on the 10-unit transaction is listed as financier Gongwen Dong, the CEO of Hong Kong-based private equity fund manager, Kaiyuan Capital. A source familiar with the situation said Kaiyuan is an investor in Magnum’s Coda building and described the deal as a “re-structure on the behalf of Kaiyuan’s investors, not a purchase.” The source said Kaiyuan’s investors are in control of the units.

The entity listed in public records as the buyer — SHS Upper City NY II LLC — has ties to Chinese developer, CL Investment Group, which The Real Deal reported in early 2017 had sold a 32.9 percent stake in Magnum’s 385 First Avenue for about $33 million.

Though the source familiar with the deal said Dong was not working for CL Investment Group, SHS’ two subsidiaries are headquartered at Dong’s Long Island home. The same entity is also the sponsor of 555 West End Avenue, another condo project which CL co-developed Cary Tamarkin.

Dong has also signed deeds for a condo at 432 Park Avenue and the penthouse formerly owned by Barclays CEO Bob Diamond at 15 Central Park West. According to the Wall Street Journal, the entities behind the big-ticket purchases — both of which list Dong’s mansion in Great Neck as primary addresses — were controlled by Chinese oil tycoon Ye Jianming and chairman of conglomerate CEFC China Energy as of last year.

Ye was last seen in February 2018 before he disappeared and officially surfaced in the Chinese government’s custody. At the time, he was in contract to buy about $80 million in property in the Big Apple. As of December 2018, the conglomerate was being controlled by the government and some of its various global assets were being sold off.

Dong and Magnum did not respond to requests for comment.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Douglas Elliman Development Marketing closed all its on-site sales offices and galleries until the end of March for health and safety concerns (Credit: iStock; Douglas Elliman)

Elliman shutters on-site sales offices nationwide, citing coronavirus concerns

Elliman shutters on-site sales offices nationwide, citing coronavirus concerns
Red Oak Realty has coined a new contingency clause related to coronavirus after the seller got stuck in Wuhan, China. (Credit: iStock)

Coronavirus contingency clause added to Bay Area condo deal

Coronavirus contingency clause added to Bay Area condo deal
Lawyer claims court order to reduce size of 200 Amsterdam Avenue will have far-reaching implications across New York City. (Credit: iStock, 200 Amsterdam)

Ruling to chop top off UWS tower affects buildings across city: lawyer

Ruling to chop top off UWS tower affects buildings across city: lawyer
Governor Andrew Cuomo and a SEIU 32BJ rally in October (Credit: Getty Images, SEIU 32BJ)

Cuomo veto spares condos, co-ops from paying prevailing wage

Cuomo veto spares condos, co-ops from paying prevailing wage
Meryl Streep, 92 Laight Street and Kenneth Tropin (inset) (Credit: Getty Images and Google Maps)

Hedge funder Kenneth Tropin is buyer of Meryl Streep’s Tribeca pad

Hedge funder Kenneth Tropin is buyer of Meryl Streep’s Tribeca pad
157 West 57th Street (Credit: iStock)

One57 condo with reduced ask tops a slow week of luxury contracts

One57 condo with reduced ask tops a slow week of luxury contracts
From left: 200 East 66th Street; Extell’s 157 West 57th Street; and 15 Hudson Yards (Credit: Street Easy)

Four home sales that caught our eye — and cost an arm and a leg

Four home sales that caught our eye — and cost an arm and a leg
Madison House condominium (Credit: iStock)

Manhattan condo builders pull back as market sinks

Manhattan condo builders pull back as market sinks
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...