The Real Deal New York

Inability to refinance pushed 20 Bayard into bankruptcy, court documents show

By David Jones | December 09, 2009 06:25PM

After months of trying to keep his Williamsburg condominium project afloat on rental income, developer Isaac Hager threw 20 Bayard into bankruptcy after he was unable to refinance the building loan or support the building’s monthly debt with outside funds, according to court documents obtained by The Real Deal.

According to an affidavit filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court by Martin Ehrenfeld, director of sales and marketing at North Development and restructuring officer of 20 Bayard Views LLC, the entity that controls the condo, Hagar was unable to refinance a $17 million mortgage loan from Manhattan-based lender W Financial Fund. He was also unable to make a $170,000 interest payment and $85,000 extension fee that would have extended the loan until Jan. 13, 2010.

“The debtor filed its Chapter 11 extension because it no longer had available advances from others to fund its operating expenses and monthly shortfalls due WFF,” according to the affidavit.

Hager originally launched plans for 20 Bayard in 2005, which was one in a trio of condo projects that included the Aurora at 30 Bayard and the Icon at 50 Bayard, all designed by architect Karl Fischer. The block eventually became known as Karl Fischer row, commanding more than $860 per square foot, the top asking prices in Williamsburg history.

Hagar, president of North Development Group, developed 20 Bayard on a 31,000-square-foot site with 46 parking spaces overlooking McCarren Park. The property has interiors designed by Andres Escobar, of William Beaver fame, with high-end amenities such as Viking gas ranges, Sub Zero refrigerators, fitness club and roof deck.

“Certainly it started out as a very prime project and people very much wanted to move into this particular building,” Fischer, who said he had not been notified of the bankruptcy, told The Real Deal.

In 2007, the developer hired Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Barak/Blackburn Group to market 20 Bayard, led by brokers Lior Barak and Christine Blackburn. As the New York market showed signs of a slowdown, the brokers urged Hagar to cut prices, which were the highest in Williamsburg

“They certainly misread the market,” said Dan Fasulo, director of research at Real Capital Analytics. “There was a market for them at the time this project became available and they could have sold out everything.”

The filing shows total assets of $21 million, which include 37 condo units and 40 parking spaces, and liabilities of $18 million. The debtor’s assets are owned by Hager, investor Jack Weingarten and the estate of Chaim Lax.

A meeting of creditors is scheduled for January.

W Financial officials, Hagar and attorneys for the developer did not return repeated calls for comment.

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