Shvo, no, where did Rector Square go?

By Candace Taylor | January 22, 2009 04:59PM

There may be something fishy going on — or not going on — at Shvo-marketed Rector Square in Battery Park City.

The sales office at the condo conversion project is currently shuttered, a visit today by The Real Deal revealed. A sign on the window says the office is closed “for the holidays” and will “reopen in the new year.”

Yair Levy, the president of YL Real Estate Developers, said the office was closed because “we don’t have as much traffic, adding, “It’s a slow time.”

The office is slated to reopen next month, a spokesman for the developer, who would not identify himself, said in a follow-up call. Construction on the project, located at 225 Rector Place at South End Avenue, has been temporarily halted and is slated to resume in “early to mid-February,” he said.

Units are still for sale and interested buyers can still make appointments with the sales team, he said. Levy claimed the project, which has a couple hundred units, is 40 percent sold. He said he is renting out some of the sponsor units.

The building, which began sales in June of 2007, is already occupied by some residents, although the exact number was not immediately available. According to Streeteasy.com, closings began in April of 2008.

Residents in a 225 Rector Place forum on Editboard.com have said they suspect the building’s lender is refusing to provide further financing for construction.

Levy denied that the development is encountering difficulty with its loans and said the construction, including completion of the unfinished pool and lobby, is slated to be finished in “three to four months.”

Constructed as a rental building by the Related Companies in 1985, the building sits on the southern tip of Manhattan and has views of the Manhattan skyline, Hudson River and Battery Park. YL Real Estate Developers purchased it from Related in the summer of 2005 for $165 million, along with 101 West 87th Street.

But interested buyers may have some difficulty viewing the building — the project’s Web site isn’t functioning. Calls to the sales office went directly to the voicemail of Marc Palermo, Shvo’s regional sales director, who also heads sales teams at 20 Pine, Jade, 650 Sixth Avenue, Gramercy Starck, and W New York Downtown Hotel & Residences.

Michael Shvo, the president of Shvo Marketing, and Palermo did not return repeated calls for comment.

Levy, the developer, said he wasn’t aware that the Web site had been taken down.

Adding to the confusion, a person at the concierge desk at Rector Square said Shvo is no longer handling sales at the building, a charge the spokesman for YL Real Estate denied.

A staff shortage at Shvo may partially explain the confusion. While rumors have swirled about firings at the company for months, a source confirmed that a recent round of layoffs at the company has reduced the number of agents selling homes at Shvo’s developments.

Additional reporting provided by James Kelly.