Japanese firm sells Hell’s Kitchen site

Supermarket operator Kobe Bussan sold 439-443 West 54th Street, where hotel was planned

439-443 West 54th Street and a rendering for Manwei You's proposed residential project at the site
439-443 West 54th Street and a rendering for Manwei You's proposed residential project at the site

UPDATED May 31, 8:59, a.m.: Japanese company Kobe Bussan, which operates a chain of supermarkets in Japan, sold two empty lots at 439-443 West 54th Street in Hell’s Kitchen for $23 million, property records recorded with the city Tuesday show.

The publicly traded company first purchased the lots from hotel developer Sam Chang in 2015, paying $19.6 million. At the time, Kobe Bussan had just recently launched a restaurant, Shabu Shabu Kobe, at 3 West 36th Street. The restaurant has since closed. Kobe Bussan also bought two industrial sites in Bushwick that year for $5.6 million, the Commercial Observer reported.

At the Hell’s Kitchen site, Kobe Bussan had planned a 101-key hotel and restaurant.

The buying entity, Yaus Special Clinton District LLC, has a listed address of an apartment owned by Taian Wang and Shaiomei Ting of Marietta, Georgia, but the deed was signed on the Hell’s Kitchen sale by a Manwei You. You’s broker, Philip Wong of Oxford Property, said that You is a graduate of Columbia University’s real estate program and is from the family behind an “Asian-based” real estate investment company looking to expand its global footprint. Wong said You planned to scrap the hotel and is looking to develop a residential condo of approximately 40 units.

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Last year, the Japan Times reported that Kobe Bussan’s headquarters in the city Inami had been raided by Japanese authorities over suspicion of insider trading involving 600,000 shares of Kobe Bussan stock. An attorney for Kobe Bussan did not return a request for comment.

In March, The Real Deal reported that Japanese investors were among those considered likely to fill the void left by Chinese facing increasingly strict capital controls.

(To view more commercial sales transactions in Hell’s Kitchen from the last six months, click here)

Correction: A prior version of this story inaccurately stated that Mitsui Fudosan bought a 20 percent stake in CIM Group; in fact, it was Mitsui & Co.