The Real Deal New York

Eastern Consolidated victorious over Massey Knakal in Chelsea listing dispute

Firm heavies agree -- no bad blood

April 20, 2012 06:55PM
By Guelda Voien

From left: the site at 117-119 West 21st Street, Robert Knakal, chairman of Massey Knakal Realty Services, and David Schechtman, principal at Eastern Consolidated

A prime Chelsea development site has hit the market with Eastern Consolidated’s David Schechtman, Alan Miller and Paul Nigido, but only after a listing skirmish that pitted two of the city’s most active investment sales brokerages against one another.

The parcel, currently home to a four-story gallery, is being sold out of bankruptcy with an asking price of $15.5 million. But the unsecured lenders for the site, at 117-119 West 21st Street, opposed Eastern Consolidated’s representation of the seller, the Arc Building LP, court documents show.

In a filing in bankruptcy court in New York’s Eastern District April 14, the offical committee of unsecured debtors stated that they prefferred rival firm Massey Knakal Realty Services have the listing, as they believed Massey Knakal would get a better price for the land, whereas Eastern Consolidated would look to sell the asset off quickly.

In the April 14 filing, the committee said “that the debtor’s ‘bare bones’ submission and minimum public exposure generated to date provide little evidence from which to conclude that Eastern is attempting to achieve the highest value for the property.” It added that retaining Massey Knakal would “vadstly improve the chances of acheiving top dollar,” for the property.

Schechtman called the committee’s submission “baseless, unprofessional, inaccurate and [now] discounted entirely [by the court].”

And, perhaps surprisingly, Massey Knakal Chairman Robert Knakal essentially agreed. Knakal was even moved to call Schechtman from Bermuda, where he is on vacation, to smooth things over. “David is as good friend and we have a very good relationship,” Knakal said. “We’ve decided to back off [on the listing],” he said.

Schechtman added that neither the firms, nor he and Knakal personally, have any bad blood, or ever have. “Bob [Knakal] is cool, as always,” Schechtman said.

At a hearing yesterday, the application to employ Eastern Consolidated was approved, according to court documents, despite the objections of the creditors.

The site, between Sixth and Seventh avenues, saw a price cut of $2 million this week, Schectman said. He expects a sale in the next two months, although any purchase is subject to the approval of the bankruptcy court, he said. He also indicated the space could be redeveloped for either residential or commercial uses.

Additional reporting provided by Adam Pincus.

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