Elmhurst developer buys own condos for $28M

Purchase of unsold units is latest chapter in 7-year saga

45-16 83rd Street in Queens (Google Maps)
45-16 83rd Street in Queens (Google Maps)

A 15-year property tax abatement wasn’t enough to sell 138 condominium units in Queens, where owners hoped a 2016 project would fetch $108.6 million.

Instead, one of the original owners, Ki Tai Yeung, bought 53 of the condos last week for $27.8 million, acting through a limited liability company. Cathay Bank simultaneously refinanced the project loan, on which $23.5 million remains outstanding, according to public records.

The towers are located at 45-11 82nd Street and 45-16 83rd Street in Elmhurst — a seven-minute walk from the subway and a 35-minute commute to Grand Central. Rental listings at the complex show granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, marble-tiled bathrooms and a courtyard in between the towers. It could not be determined why nearly 40 percent of the units remain unpurchased.

Angela Leon, an agent at Four Seasons Property Management who is featured prominently on marketing materials for the condos, said she has not worked at the site in about a year. “Not all the units sold,” she said, and unsold condos were divided among the owners.

“Loans have to be paid once construction is done,” she noted.

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The project dates back to at least 2013, when Yeung bought the site for $12.5 million, property records show. An application to construct a 208,767-square-foot, mixed-use building at 45-16 83rd Street was approved by the Department of Buildings in 2015.

The following year, an offering plan submitted to New York’s attorney general showed the developers were expecting sales of $91.3 million. But by early 2019, just 17 percent of the units were in contract, an updated plan disclosed.

In September of this year, the limited liability company Elm 53 Tower purchased 54 condo units from Elmhurst Plaza Tower LLC, according to public property records. Both companies are owned by Yeung and development partner Jia Shu Xu, according to PropertyShark.

It was the city’s only mid-market investment sale, which The Real Deal defines as between $10 million and $30 million, for the week ending Oct. 30.