A missing Chinese national who helped buy a $ 30 million apartment at 432 Park Avenue also has ties to the purchase of a second unit in the building, property records show.
A Whitney Duan affiliate purchased 2,600 square feet of space on the building’s 80th floor in 2016 for $ 19 million in cash, records show. Three months earlier, like The real deal reported, another Duan-related company bought a 72nd-floor condo for $ 30 million, funded by the $ 13.75 million loan she personally guaranteed. This unit, 72A, is now in foreclosure.
Duan appears to have transferred ownership interests in the two condominium units from a pair of U.S. companies to two foreign entities, according to property records.
Moving assets overseas is not illegal or even atypical for high-flying international buyers, but the extent of Duan’s involvement draws attention to the saga of a mysterious owner who is on the verge. losing a $ 30 million apartment that cannot be found – or even identified.
As no one is paying the $ 12.6 million in unpaid debt on Unit 72A, Maverick Real Estate Partners has decided to foreclose on the Billionaires’ Row apartment. On Monday, the building’s board of directors placed a lien on the unit, citing $ 78,000 in unpaid common charges. The chairman of the condominium board, Meir Cohen, could not be reached immediately.
Foreclosure of a unit in such a trophy building would be rare, but a number of international buyers have found their properties trapped in court after opaque financial transactions. Maverick’s foreclosure process continues in Manhattan court.
Several questions concerning the two units at 432 Park Avenue remain unanswered:
Where’s Whitney Duan?
Duan, also known as Weihong Duan, is listed in court documents as the guarantor of a $ 13.75 million mortgage at 432 Park Avenue. She has not spoken publicly since the Chinese government allegedly detained her four years ago as part of a corruption investigation. One of China’s richest women, Duan was linked to a multibillion-dollar fortune amassed by former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
Maverick, who recently took over the loan, says Duan’s last address is the 1901 apartment at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beijing. She was not reachable there. Duan’s ex-husband Desmond Shum has written an upcoming book on the circumstances surrounding his unknown whereabouts.
Who owns units 72A and 80A at 432 Park Avenue?
The companies that bought the shares conceal the identity of the individual (s) controlling them. One publicly available piece of information, however, is the address of the owner of Unit 72A: a condo unit at 200 East 65th Street in Lenox Hill.
This unit is owned by Xiangxi Duan, who bought it for $ 2.8 million in 2018, according to the deeds. TRD could not identify a family connection between Whitney Duan and Xiangxi Duan, who purchased the unit through a separate LLC named Eagle Harvest.
Where does the money go?
After securing the $ 13.75 million mortgage loan made on Unit 72A in July 2016, Duan personally loaned $ 5.8 million the following year to the LLC that owns the unit. Duan’s loan was approved as subordinate to the mortgage loan by its originator, China Citic Bank.
Duan’s $ 5.8 million borrower – 432 Park 72A LLC – appears in public documents to be managed by a British Virgin Islands firm called Pinenew Investments Limited. Ownership of Unit 80A has been transferred to Best Seal Investments Limited, with the address of Whitney Duan’s apartment in Beijing. The companies could not be reached.
Approximately $ 54.8 million passed through the LLC owners of units 72A and 80A, based on the amount paid for the condos and Duan’s personal loan. Maverick took over the mortgage debt on Unit 72A from China Citic in May.
A New York state law passed in 2019 began requiring companies like 432 Park 72A LLC to disclose their individual owners. Congress passed a similar measure in January. However, the information remains hidden from the public.
Have the owners of these residences ever stayed there?
It is unclear. Both Billionaires’ Row and Lenox Hill condo units have been listed for rent since their last purchase. The 432 Park Avenue unit asked for $ 78,000 per month, although attorneys for Maverick Real Estate told a Manhattan court that the apartment was unfurnished.
Will the $ 30 million condo be foreclosed and sold?
It’s like that. Neither 432 Park 72A LLC nor Duan have responded to Maverick’s court records asking for a business lockdown, and the owner has not cited Covid’s hardship as a reason to shut him down. Without a response from the condo owner, it will almost certainly be sold to collect the mortgage debt.
The luxury market did not return to its peak in 2017, but is recovering from its pandemic low, and profitable resales have taken place at 432 Park Avenue. The top-floor penthouse is listed there at $ 169 million, about double its purchase price. But no sale has been made in the building since complaints about design and construction flaws came to light in February.