Doronin closes major refi on Crown Building condo, hotel

The project atop 730 Fifth Avenue is slated to be completed this summer

Vlad Doronin with the Crown (Cany, Vlad Doronin)
Vlad Doronin with the Crown (Cany, Vlad Doronin)

Vladislav Doronin’s OKO Group closed on a $754 million refinancing from JPMorgan for its luxury condo and hotel project at the Crown Building.

The project, which occupies the top 20 floors of the 24-story building at 730 Fifth Avenue, is expected to be completed this summer. Closings on the condo portion have already begun.

The Real Deal reported in April that OKO Group was close to locking in an $820 million refinancing on the project from JPMorgan. The lower amount can be attributed to subsequent condo closings, according to sources. Doronin partnered with developer Michael Shvo to purchase the space for $475 million in 2015.

Walker & Dunlop’s Keith Kurland and Aaron Appel arranged the financing.

OKO Group is converting the upper portion of the building from office space to 22 luxury condos and an 83-room hotel under Doronin’s Aman Resorts brand, with amenities including an outdoor dining terrace, a three-floor spa and a jazz club.

One of the condos, a five-story penthouse, went into contract for $180 million in 2018 — among the priciest homes ever sold in the city. Doronin told the Wall Street Journal in 2019 that two additional units were under contract for a combined $145 million.

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OKO Group previously secured $750 million in financing for the conversion project in 2019, including a $300 million senior loan from Bank OZK and $450 million of mezzanine debt from Cain International.

Wharton Properties’ Jeff Sutton and General Growth Properties acquired the landmarked, 390,000-square-foot building from Eliot Spitzer for $1.8 billion in 2015. The partners held onto the four retail floors at its base, but quickly sold the upper portion to Doronin and Shvo.

Shvo was sidelined as co-developer in 2017 after being indicted on tax evasion charges, but retained an equity stake, according to sources. Shvo’s firm now uses the Crown Building in its marketing materials.

In 2019, Sutton’s Wharton Properties sold everything except a nominal piece of its 50 percent stake in the building’s retail portion to Brookfield Property Partners, which had acquired General Growth Properties the previous year, for $779 million.

The building was constructed in 1921 by August Heckscher and designed by architects Warren and Wetmore, who also worked on Grand Central Terminal. It was the original home to the Museum of Modern Art starting in 1929.

Outside New York, Doronin is also planning an Aman-branded and OKO-developed luxury
condo and hotel project in Miami Beach with Len Blavatnik. And on Thursday, the developers behind One Beverly Hills, a luxury residential project next to Los Angeles’ Beverly Hilton, announced that Aman will brand and operate the complex’s 10-story hotel, private club, restaurant and condos.