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Real Estate Developer Ben Shaoul Sells UES Condo for $15.3M in Bitcoin



Successful Iranian Jewish real estate developer Ben Shaoul has sold an Upper East Side retail condo for $15.3 million in Bitcoin. Photo Credit: Jewish Business News

By: Herosha Krishner

Successful Iranian Jewish real estate developer Ben Shaoul has sold an Upper East Side retail condo for $15.3 million in Bitcoin.

The landlord, whose firm Magnum Real Estate Group is converting 389 East 89th Street from rentals to condos, sold the 11,400-square-foot space earlier this month, The Real Deal has learned. The buyer is a Taiwanese entity called Affluent Silver International LLC, according to a person familiar with the deal.

To complete the transaction the parties used Bitpay and Starr. Eric Hedvat, a broker with Jet Real Estate who represented Magnum, said it was a “seamless process.” Shaoul declined to comment, according to a report from Real Deal.

Shaoul was born in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City to an Iranian Jewish family, is a very successful landlord, developer and a community college dropout!

After he left school, he interned for a summer with a New York-based developer run by the Ohebshalom family, (also of Persian Jewish heritage). He oversaw the renovation of his father’s property and later took out a mortgage on the building. In 1998, he and his parents co-founded Magnum Real Estate Group.] In 1999, Shaoul used the proceeds from that mortgage to buy his first property, which was located on Mott Street in Nolita, according to Wikipedia researchers.

Shaoul purchases buildings that have not been renovated for a long time and renovates them, and then increases the rent. He primarily focuses on the East Village has added luxury apartments on top existing buildings, all according to Wikipedia.

This powerhouse developer made headlines earlier this year.

An investor with links to a now-imprisoned oil tycoon and Chinese developer has bought 10 condos in Ben Shaoul’s Gramercy Park tower. In the last week of June, as a new set of taxes were about to be imposed on residential real estate, a buying spree of residential units ensued. As reported by the Real Deal, this portfolio of condos closed then for a combined price of more than $33 million. The units purchased range from about $2.5 million to $5.1 million each.

The units purchased range from about $2.5 million to $5.1 million each and are located on floors 15 through 21of the building, TJV reported.

Last year, Magnum went into contract with two other buyers in the building for residential condos using a Bitcoin transfer. One unit was a 624-square-foot studio with an asking price of $875,000, the other was a 989-square-foot one-bedroom with a $1.48 million price tag, Real Deal reported.

While Bitcoin is not commonly used for real estate transactions, due to the wild fluctuations of the cryptocurrency. In the last 2 years 1 bitcoin has ranged from $20,000 a bitcoin to as low as $3000 a bitcoin.

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