The Real Deal New York

Receiver named at historic Harlem rental

Latest foreclosure for Vantage, Area Property

May 30, 2012 05:30PM
By David Jones

730 Riverside Drive

A state Supreme Court judge has named a receiver to oversee the restoration of the Beaumont, a historic 11-story rental building in Harlem, the latest in a series of foreclosures against Vantage Properties and Area Property Partners.

New York state Supreme Court justice Jeffrey Oing named attorney Bradley Marks as a receiver to oversee the building at 730 Riverside Drive, a 64-unit Beaux Arts residence that was originally developed by Blum & Blum in 1912.

The building has been home to some of Harlem’s most famous residents, including Invisible Man author Ralph Ellison and opera singer Marian Anderson.

Marks, in court filings, requested the appointment of Stephen Shapiro, from Citadel Property Management Corp., to take over operations of the property, citing the need for additional maintenance.

“The property and its tenants have been neglected for a number of years and immediate action is required to protect and preserve the property, and to retain the existing tenants,” Marks said in court filings.

The Department of Buildings issued a stop work order at the building in October 2010. The building has more than 100 complaints on file at the department of Housing Preservation & Development, and lacks a valid registration with that department.

After acquiring the building in 2007 for $20.5 million, the owners allegedly defaulted on the property’s $15.3 million mortgage balance in 2010 by failing to make monthly interest payments to original lender Anglo Irish Bank. Anglo Irish sold its entire U.S. loan portfolio in 2011, including some distressed loans to Dallas-based Lone Star Funds.

At least one tenant at the building filed suit against the owners alleging rent overcharges due to the building receiving J-51 tax incentives from the city, while other tenants have complained about inadequate maintenance issues.

“They would use a band aid to repair a gaping wound,” one tenant, who asked not to be identified, told The Real Deal.

Commercial broker Eastern Consolidated had placed the property up for sale in 2010 for $23 million. The firm declined comment.

The lawsuit, originally filed on April 5, has been mostly under seal until early May, when the court ordered the appointment of a receiver. Marks was named on May 16, and he later requested a new property manager.

Community Board 9 recently voted in favor of a resolution to have the building designated a historic landmark, and have passed along a formal request to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, according to Eutha Prince, district manager of the board.

The case is the latest foreclosure filing by Lone Star against Vantage and Area, which owned several portfolios of apartments in a joint venture between the firms. As The Real Deal previously reported, a receiver was appointed to oversee 344 Washington Avenue, as well as a 10-building and four-building portfolio owned by the investors. 

A spokesman for Vantage referred calls to Area Property Partners. A spokesman for Area was not immediately available. Marks declined comment.

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