Controversial owners Gluck, Bistricer set to buy separate UWS buildings

By Adam Pincus | July 16, 2010 04:00PM

From left: Laurence Gluck, 666 West End Avenue and 752 West End Avenue (building photos’ source: PropertyShark)

Two unrelated apartment owners with checkered ownership records,
Laurence Gluck and David Bistricer, are each in contract to buy large
apartment buildings on the Upper West Side, according to several
sources.

Gluck,
through his Stellar Management, has partnered with Moshe Azogui to buy
666 West End Avenue, a 403-unit 22-story apartment building at the
corner of 92nd Street, for $72 million, the sources said.

The 1927 structure is a single-room-occupancy apartment building, city Department of Buildings records show.

And
five blocks north, Clipper Equity, one of whose principals is David
Bistricer, is in contract to buy 752 West End Avenue from Westbrook
Partners, a private equity firm being represented by Eastdil Secured,
sources said. The contract price was not available.

The 24-story
building at the corner of 97th Street owned by Westbrook is 198,248
square feet and has 179 residential units, data from PropertyShark.com
shows.

Insiders were surprised Gluck could get financing since
he lost Riverton Houses in Harlem in a foreclosure and is facing a $110
million foreclosure suit at the Financial District office tower at 2 Rector Street.

Nationally,
Stellar announced in May that it would default on its $550 million
first mortgage on a 3,221-unit apartment complex in San Francisco
called Parkmerced, which is due in October.

Stellar, Westbrook and Clipper Equity either did not respond to request for comments or declined to comment.

In
New York, Gluck has been criticized for his management of apartment
buildings. But now, if troubled 33-story affordable rental building Tivoli Towers
in Crown Heights remains in the Mitchell-Lama program for 30 years, the
city will give its blessing for Gluck to buy it, a spokesperson from
the city’s Housing Preservation and Development said.

Brooklyn-based
Clipper Equity, whose principals are Bistricer and Sam Levinson, made a
$1.3 billion bid for the affordable apartments of Starrett City
in Brooklyn, but local and federal officials blocked the sale. In 1998,
the New York Attorney General barred Bistricer and others from
converting certain rental buildings to condominiums or cooperatives,
because of alleged financial irregularities. Clipper Equity is also the
developer of the condo BellTel Lofts in Brooklyn.

Lawrence
Longua, clinical associate professor at New York University’s Schack
Institute of Real Estate, said developers often recover following a
down cycle. He was not familiar with either sale, but noted that Harry
Macklowe and Harry Helmsley each lost buildings only to return as
successful developers.

“Lenders are just saying these guys are
victims of the times, not like they did anything to cause problems,”
Longua said. He said he frequently tells his students that there were
“10-year cycles but seven-year memories.”