Extell abandons Upper West Side condo plans

By Adam Pincus | June 26, 2008 02:34PM

Extell Development has abandoned plans to convert a six-story pre-war building on the Upper West Side to condos and instead has sold the residential building for $44 million, nearly doubling its investment in four years.

Extell sold the 86-unit apartment building at 10 West 65th Street to Touro College this month, according to city property records. A school spokeswoman said it would be used for rental housing for students attending its Lander College for Women/The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School, located at 227 West 60th Street.

Gary Barnett, Extell’s president, said the company had floated two proposals for the building, either upgrading it and keeping it as a rental or converting it to condos. After receiving several offers for the building it decided to sell, he said.

“I was a simple real estate deal,” Barnett said. “You buy something for something and you get a good offer for more and you sell it. It saved us a lot of hard work.”

Extell bought the building, on Central Park and near Lincoln Center, in 2004 for $23 million. Masskey Knakal listed the property for $60 million.

Residents said the proposed condo conversion failed after not enough tenants supported the plan. Barnett, however, said the residents had nothing to do with the sale.

Tenant Fred Beckhardt, who has lived in the building for 50 years, said most tenants were rent-stabilized or rent-controlled, so he did not fear a dramatic rise in rents would come along with the high sales price.

But Beckhardt said Extell had not renewed leases over the past few years, leaving more than a third of the apartments empty.

Barnett said most of the empty apartments had been undergoing substantial renovations.

“The tenants would have gotten a really beautiful building if we had completed our plans, but that is the way it goes,” he said.

Olga Kitsakos, an 88-year old rent-controlled tenant who has lived in the building for 60 years, said she was pleased with the sale.

“So far I am optimistic and look forward to what the college will do,” she said. “It will be lovely to have young people in the building again.”

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