HNA Group Sells Brooklyn Real Estate Company Hudson Valley Resort In Kerhonkson
By Tina Traster
The firm behind the recent purchase of the Hudson Valley Resort in Kerhonkson is said to be eyeing the HNA Center on Route 9W in Palisades. Vasco Ventures paid HNA Group, a Chinese firm that also owns the HNA Center, $4.4 million for the downtrodden upstate hotel.
Vasco Ventures, a south Brooklyn-based, real estate investment business buys commercial and residential real estate. Vasco Ventures, founded by Ephraim Vashovsky in 2008, describes itself as a leader in “distressed and undervalued” real estate.
Vashovsky has previously focused on buying city residential buildings to upgrade them, and then rent or sell them in a much-improved state. More recently, Vasco Ventures has shifted to larger properties, such as the 2017 acquisition of the Griffin Office Park Portfolio in Hartford, Connecticut, for a reported $5 million. That five-building, 375,000-square-foot suburban office campus sits in the Griffin Office Center, a 600-acre development in greater Hartford.
Vasco Ventures also has buildings in Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and New York.
In 2017, Vashovsky pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in the first degree, a felony, one count; and endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor; in a case involving a building on East 115th street in Manhattan. Vashovsky had bought the building for $3 million with a plan to renovate and rebuild luxury apartments. A family with five children under the age of 12 were living in the building. To force them out of their $2,400 a month rent stabilized apartment, it was alleged that Vashovsky gutted the building around them, cut off water and heat; and, according to the Manhattan district attorney, orchestrated a campaign of harassment. Vashovsky was sentenced to twenty days community service and forfeiture of $350,000.
Prior to Vasco, Vashovsky had served as a Rabbi and teacher at Sinai Academy in Brooklyn.
The sale of both the HNA Center and the Hudson Valley Resort comes amid a Chinese real estate selling spree that continues to break records. After being net sellers of U.S. real estate in the second quarter of 2018, which was the first time since 2008, Chinese investors, have now gone three straight quarters selling more than they have bought, for the first time ever.
In fact, Chinese investors sold more real estate in 2018 than the previous seven years combined, according the Real Capital Analytics data cited by the Wall Street Journal.
As the Chinese government continues to tighten capital controls amid an economic slowdown and growing uncertainty over trade, Chinese companies like the HNA Group have been selling off many of the trophy assets they acquired over the past few years, and analysts expect the trend to continue in 2019.
The HNA center, located on a secluded tract of 106 bucolic acres on Route 9W, is a Hudson Valley gem with nothing to rival it. The beautiful facility is a labyrinth of conference spaces equipped with high-speed internet and state-of-the-art technology. Frank Lloyd Wright would give it a thumbs up.
Sources close to the deal say the center is being sold for between $38 million and $50 million. The new buyers intend to continue the center’s use for conferences, said the source.
HNA bought the HNA Palisades Center for nearly $60 million, and the Hudson Valley Resort for nearly $14 million.
Vasco Ventures did not return a call seeking comment.