Magic Johnson partnership breathes life into Brooklyn condo

By David Jones | August 24, 2010 06:00PM

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the Isabella condominium and Alec Ornstein of Ornstein Leyton

A partnership co-founded by basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson has recapitalized the stalled Isabella condominium in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn with $22.6 million in new financing, and the developers have retained the Corcoran Group to relaunch sales.

Garden City, N.Y.-based Ornstein Leyton was awarded the new financing through an agreement with Los Angeles-based Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds, a venture between Magic Johnson Enterprises and Canyon Capital Realty Advisors.

“Our development expertise together with Canyon’s ability to structure and execute complex transactions will enable us to successfully complete the Isabella,” said Scott Leyton, a principal at Ornstein Leyton, in a news release. Ornstein Leyton, co-led by Alec Ornstein, originally acquired the site in 2006 for $11.25 million.

HSBC Bank filed to foreclose on the mortgage loan in September 2009, according to and Kings County Supreme Court records, but sources told The Real Deal that the new financing was negotiated under a deal involving the original lenders, the developers and Canyon Capital.

“Unlike other real estate funds, CJUF does not shop around for distressed debt,” the source told The Real Deal. “Instead, the funds engage in negotiated transactions that are often brought to their attention through the project’s sponsor, or by the lenders themselves.”

The seven-story building, at 545 Washington Avenue, offers a range of studios and one- and two-bedroom units, with an average price of $530,000. The condo units feature Bosch appliances, Silestone countertops, a heath club, indoor parking and landscaped roof.

The project is nearly completed, and the original contractors will complete the individual units while Corcoran resumes sales.

The property was previously marketed by the Developers Group. Officials there were not immediately available for comment and nor were Corcoran officials.

Ornstein Leyton officials were not immediately available for comment.