NY Attorney General certifies Manhattan House conversion plan

By David Jones | August 27, 2008 05:27PM

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office has declared effective the plan to convert Manhattan House into condominiums, three years after the building sold for $623 million, according to officials from the tenants’ association and developer.

Tenants said they were notified on Aug. 26 that Cuomo’s office had accepted the plan earlier in the month, and that the first closings were scheduled to begin sometime between late September to early October. 

O’Connor Capital Partners previously met a deadline set by HSH Nordbank to sell at least 15 percent of the available apartments by June 1, or face delays in closing the apartments. Sources said the last official update in June showed that about 110 apartments had been sold.

Streeteasy.com reports the building has 50 units on sale at an average price of $1,624 per square foot, ranging from $722,000 to $6 million.

The declaration represents a significant victory for developer Jeremiah O’Connor, who engineered the $1.1 billion conversion plan that would make Manhattan House one the biggest condo conversions in U.S. history.

Manhattan House officials were not immediately available for comment. Tenant association officials said they were waiting to get additional written confirmation on the plan before commenting.

O’Connor survived a brutal legal fight against N. Richard Kalikow, who partnered with him on the 2006 acquisition from New York Life Insurance Co. He also endured a lengthy set of legal challenges by the Manhattan House Tenants Organization, which fought against the conversion on several fronts, including over whether market rate tenants could be evicted.

O’Connor hired a team led by Prudential Douglas Elliman superbroker Dolly Lenz to market the 583-unit property at 200 East 66th Street, taking out a $750 million loan from HS Nordbank in 2007 to help finance the conversion. Nordbank, like a number of commercial foreign banks, has since shut down much of its major commercial lending in New York.