The Real Deal New York

Site of Karl Fischer-designed condo to hit foreclosure auction block

107-unit residence, 23 Caton Place, was set to rise in Kensington

October 19, 2012 03:30PM
By Katherine Clarke

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A rendering of the planned condo

A long-stalled condominium development site in Kensington, Brooklyn is slated to hit the foreclosure auction block next month, following a long and storied battle between the project’s developer, Moshe Feller, and its lender, Chicago-based Corus Bank.

Caton on the Park, as the development at 23 Caton Place was billed, was well on its way towards becoming a 107-unit condo before its added construction costs began to outstrip its lenders’ willingness to contribute additional capital. The building, designed by well-known architect Karl Fischer, was 40 percent complete when it stalled in 2009 following the collapse of Lehman Brothers. It will be auctioned Nov. 8 at the King’s County Supreme Court at 360 Adams Street with an outstanding lien of $23.7 million, according to data from PropertyShark.com.

As The Real Deal previously reported, Feller paid $6.3 million in 2005 for 23 Caton Place, a parcel of land that comprised one of two buildings used as a stable by a center for horseback riding in Prospect Park. He made plans for an eight-story building. Unit prices were slated to range from $299,000 for a 575-square-foot studio to $895,985 for a 1,357-square-foot three-bedroom unit. A stop-work order was issued at the property in 2008 after workers were reported to be rushing construction and not taking proper safety precautions.

Corus Bank first filed to foreclose on the $32.8 million mortgage it granted to Feller in June 2008, but since transferred the note to another owner. It appears the current holder of the loan is an LLC managed by Levi Balkany, the grandson of the disgraced kosher meat baron Aaron Rubashkin. Rubashkin famously ran into legal trouble in 2008, when his kosher slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa was raided by the U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security. A number of the plant’s managers and other employees were arrested for allegedly harboring illegal workers. Aaron Rubashkin’s son, Sholom Rubashkin, convicted of fraud charges relating to the Postville plant, is currently serving a 27-year-sentence in federal prison.

Balkany appears to have purchased the note in April 2011. Neither he nor Feller could be reached for comment. According to Patched.com, construction recommenced at the project in June 2012. It was not immediately clear why it had restarted.

The building, which will total 120,689 square feet upon completion, sits on a 22,500-square-foot lot. According to a recently resolved complaint against the property, there were until recently squatters inhabiting the building’s completed lower floors.

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