Xinyuan to make Manhattan debut with Hell’s Kitchen condo project: sources

Chinese firm in contract to buy Speedway gas station site for nearly $60M

Xinyuan Real Estate
615 10th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen (inset: Xinyuan Real Estate's John Liang)

Xinyuan Real Estate is in contract to buy a Hell’s Kitchen development site for nearly $60 million, with the Chinese firm planning its first Manhattan condominium project, according to sources familiar with the transaction.

The site, located at 615 10th Avenue, is home to a Hess Express gas station. Also known as 501-505 West 44th Street, the site offers more than 100,000 buildable square feet.

Beijing-based Xinyuan, a publicly-traded development firm which operates in the U.S. through its subsidiary XIN Development, is close to signing a hard contract for the lot, according to deal insiders. Following the success of its 216-unit Williamsburg condo project known as the Oosten, the firm had been scouting for a new site.

Ohio-based gasoline chain Speedway LLC, a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corporation, has owned the site for little more than a year, having paid $31.3 million to the Hess Corporation in September 2014. The deal was part of Speedway’s purchase of Hess’ 1,300 gas and convenience stores in the U.S.

Representatives for Xinyuan declined to comment.

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The site is just a block away from the Gotham Organization’s 1,238-unit rental complex Gotham West, which opened in 2013. The average price for condos in Hell’s Kitchen is $1,573 per square foot, according to Miller Samuel data.

John Liang, Xinyuan Real Estate’s managing director of U.S. operations, told TRD in August that “in New York, it’s more and more challenging to buy land and it’s getting more expensive.”

“It’s a very fast-paced acquisition environment,” Liang continued. “Our project pipeline keeps changing. You spend two months negotiating on a deal. You spend a lot of money hiring lawyers to draft out the contract and before you sign the contract, someone could come in and snatch your deal, which happened to us a few times.”

Xinyuan invested $270 million in the Oosten project, which is slated for completion by mid-2016. A penthouse is under contract there for a Williamsburg record of $6.5 million.