i really want to see the renderings of the design for this housing complex!!
Developer Ventures Outside City—to Taiwan
By LAURA KUSISTO
The late Seymour Durst, one of New York's storied real-estate developers, famously pledged never to buy a building he couldn't walk to. But for the first time in more than 95 years, the Durst Organization is investing in a real-estate project outside of New York City—in Taiwan no less.
Douglas Durst, Seymour's son, is set to sign a pact Monday with Dajun Yun, chief executive of Vantone Real Estate Co., to invest in each others' new residential projects. Vantone will invest $11 million in the Durst's 570,000-square-foot rental, hotel and retail development at 855 Sixth Ave., which is scheduled to break ground next spring.
In return, Durst has pledged $11 million to Vantone's hilltop 278-home luxury complex in New Taipei City, Taiwan. The project is expected to break ground by November.
Mr. Durst, who heads his family-owned company, said in an interview that he only decided he wanted to invest in Greater China after he toured the region, witnessing that it "is on the cusp" of real-estate development in many ways.
The deal comes at a time that the Durst family is growing and casting a wider net for new business. Six members are currently involved in the development business, including Mr. Durst's cousin, Jody Durst, who has taken over as president of the company. The next generation is 24 strong.
The partnership will be overseen by Douglas Durst's son, Alexander, 40 years old, who is currently co-vice president of the company.
The Durst's $11 million investment in the Taipei City project is small for a developer responsible for many trophy office and residential towers in Manhattan. But Mr. Durst describes it as the first step toward a potential long-term relationship.
Mr. Durst, the third generation involved in the family-owned Durst Organization, met executives from real-estate developer Vantone because their parent company agreed to lease space at 1 World Trade Center in 2009. After that lease was signed, Mr. Durst was tapped by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to become a partner in 1 World Trade, slated to be the tallest tower at the rebuilt World Trade Center.
After Mr. Durst became involved as a developer, Vantone persuaded him to take two trips to Greater China.
Joseph Durst, an Austrian-Jewish immigrant, founded the firm in 1915 with the purchase of the Century Building at One West 34th Street. His son, Seymour, took over and developed numerous office buildings on Third and Sixth avenues.
Under the leadership of Douglas Durst, 66, the company has undertaken increasingly ambitious projects, such as the country's first green skyscraper, Four Times Square, and the 2.35 million-square-foot Bank of America Tower at 1 Bryant Park.
But while the Dursts have done more to populate the Manhattan skyline than almost any developer, they've yet to venture beyond the five boroughs.
Mr. Durst said it was easier to take a leap of faith in investing overseas because he sees a lot of similarities between his company and Vantone. "Their biggest concern is to make the apartments as usable as possible and they're very concerned about the environment," he says.
For Vantone, a 20-year-old mainland Chinese real-estate developer, this will be the first investment in New York City.
"We think that the real estate market in the United States is in the valley of the curve," said Dajun Yun, chief executive of Vantone, in an interview. "This is the first investment. We are looking forward to having more and more cooperating and investment with Durst."