Mystery buyer pays just $169M for site of Oceanwide’s distressed supertall

China-based firm, which paid $390M, lost control of FiDi project in May

Oceanwide Holding’s Lu Zhiqiang and renderings of 80 South Street (LinkedIn, ATCHAIN)
Oceanwide Holding’s Lu Zhiqiang and renderings of 80 South Street (LinkedIn, ATCHAIN)

Months after Oceanwide Holdings lost control of its Financial District project, the note secured by the development site has been sold.

An anonymous buyer purchased the note for $169 million, PincusCo reported. The buyer may have been formed with this purchase in mind, as the Delaware-based company was registered in late May, days after the development site fell into receivership.

The sale closed in mid-July. The properties covered by the note, which include the industrial building at 163 Front Street, have 102,000 square feet of built space and 44,000 square feet of air rights.

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Oceanwide had big dreams for the site, 80 South Street, when it bought the property for $390 million in 2016. The Chinese firm invested another $20 million into it but never began construction.

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Oceanwide was planning a tower that would rise roughly 1,500 feet. By roof height, it would have been the tallest building in Lower Manhattan. Three years after Oceanwide bought the site, however, it quietly started marketing it for $300 million.

Last year, Oceanwide started trying to sell the site again, looking for around $200 million. But potential buyers might have surmised that they could get it for less by waiting.

According to a filing made with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in May, the property entered receivership after Oceanwide defaulted on a $175 million loan from Midtown-based DW Partners. The two-year loan was due in May 2021, but the developer was reportedly given a six-month extension before being declared in default after missing a $1.3 million payment in January.

Ownership of the property then passed to Kalo, an insolvency and restructuring firm headquartered in the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, according to the Hong Kong filing.

That left Oceanwide with only one project in the United States, a 2-million-square-foot condo, hotel and apartment development in Los Angeles that remains unfinished. It is not the only Chinese real estate firm struggling with its U.S. investments.

— Holden Walter-Warner