Sapir’s 100 Church Street hit with $3M in liens

TRD New York /
Aug.August 12, 2009 04:47 PM

The Sapir Organization’s office rehabilitation project at 100 Church Street has financial challenges that extend beyond the scuttled lease deal for the Claremont School that led to a lawsuit against SL Green Realty last week.

Seven architectural and contracting firms that have worked at 100 Church Street in Lower Manhattan claim they are owed nearly $3 million in unpaid invoices since March from the building’s owner, Sapir, a Midtown-based developer and owner.

Between March and August, the companies filed mechanic’s liens totaling $2.89 million, including $202,919 by Long Island City-based Remco Maintenance and $1.7 million by Ecker Window, based in Yonkers, according to a review of New York County Clerk records by The Real Deal.

The liens were filed against the entity that owns the building, 100 Church Owner, LLC, which is controlled by Sapir.

One company, Gruzen Sampton Architects, filed a mechanic’s lien for $328,398 in June, and then filed a lawsuit against Sapir to foreclose on that lien August 4 in New York State Supreme Court. (Company head Alex Sapir was not named in the suit.)

That was just three days before Sapir claimed in a lawsuit filed in the same court that it was blocked by lenders SL Green and Gramercy Capital from finalizing the 255,000 lease with Claremont School, which would be the largest lease in the 21-story, 1 million-square-foot building. The building is undergoing a $20 million rehabilitation, plus tenant build-outs costing additional millions of dollars more, the lawsuit said.

The Claremont School lease had a price of about $15 per square foot, in the building that can provide tenants with government tax incentives, according to a calculation from figures in the Sapir lawsuit. A broker not involved with the deal speculated that the price might have excluded costs like taxes and maintenance, driving the cost down by $10 or $15 per square foot.

Sapir declined to comment and a spokesperson for SL Green said the Sapir lawsuit was without merit.

Gruzen Sampton partner Jordan Gruzen said his architectural firm’s design work was for the Claremont School. However, he was not aware that the lease, first reported in an Observer article in February 24, could be scuttled. In fact, his firm had been participating in weekly status meetings.

“Everybody was acting solely in their own interests,” he said of the process.


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