By: Benyamin Davidsons
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, and are located on floors 15 through 21of the building.
Shaoul’s building, known as Coda, has a total of 114 units with a 24-hour concierge, a programmed fitness center, a resident’s lounge, a landscaped roof deck and open-air terrace, as per the building’s website. The East side tower has one, two and three bedroom options with views of the Empire State’s skyline.
Public records now reveal that the name of the authorized signatory for the 10 condos is Gongwen Dong. The financier is the CEO of Hong Kong-based private equity fund manager, Kaiyuan Capital. The Chinese real estate developer is no new comer to NYC real estate. A source familiar with the situation however, explains that Kaiyuan is an investor in the Coda building, and the transaction was simply a “re-structure on the behalf of Kaiyuan’s investors, not a purchase.” As per the Real Deal, SHS Upper City NY II LLC is named in public records as the buyer. The company has ties to Chinese developer, CL Investment Group, which in 2017 had sold a 32.9 percent stake in Magnum’s Coda Building for roughly $33 million. The source said that Dong is not working for CL Investment Group, nonetheless somehow SHS’ two subsidiaries list Dong’s Long Island home as their headquarters.
Dong seems mysteriously linked to Ye Jianming , 42, who was the founder and former Chairman of CEFC China Energy Company Limited, a Global Fortune 500 energy and finance conglomerate. Ye disappeared suddenly from the limelight and is now under detention in China for bribery charges, as of March 2018. Dong has also signed deeds for a luxury condo at 432 Park Avenue, as well as the penthouse at 15 Central Park West previously owned by Barclays CEO Bob Diamond. As per the Wall Street Journal, the entities behind those extravagant purchases, both list Dong’s Great Neck mansion as primary addresses and were both controlled by Ye, the Chinese oil magnate.