Gluck sells $16M rent-regulated UWS building

By Adam Pincus | September 14, 2010 05:30PM

Laurence Gluck and 5 West 91st Street

[Updated 12:17 a.m., Sept. 15] Landlord Laurence Gluck’s Stellar Management sold a former Mitchell-Lama building at 5 West 91st Street on the Upper West Side to an affiliate of Midtown-based investment firm Gaia Real Estate for just over $16 million.

The sale of the 48-unit building, located between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, closed Sept. 7, a spokesperson for the company said. Sources put the sale price at just over $16 million, but the spokesperson would not confirm that.

Stellar bought the property in June 2006 for $14 million, city property records show, and quickly took it out of the state’s Mitchell-Lama affordable housing program that year, providing tenants at the time with a form of Section 8 vouchers.

The sale has not yet appeared in city property records.

Gaia, founded by Amir Yerushelmi, Danny Fishman and Ken Woolley, invests in distressed properties and also owns property management firm Vision Property Management and sales company Park River Properties, the company’s website says.

Ben Friedman, CEO of Vision and a Gaia partner, said in an e-mail that Gaia currently owns a 92-unit apartment building in Connecticut. Next week the firm is closing on a purchase of 266 units in New Jersey. Before the end of the year, the firm expects to close on two more multi-family deals in Manhattan with a total of 110 units, as well as one more each in New Jersey and Connecticut.

Ivan Hakimian, a broker with Itzhaki Properties, represented both the buyer and the seller. Hakimian declined to comment.

Although Stellar has loans spread over 5 West 91st Street and two other nearby properties at 50 West 93rd Street and 70 West 93rd Street, Gluck said in an e-mail that those properties were not for sale.

Today most of 5 West 91st Street remains rent-regulated, although there are market-rate units. For example, the Vision website shows a two-bedroom apartment at 5 West 91st Street listed for $4,950 per month.

Gluck has followed a program of buying older properties that have government subsidies such as Mitchell-Lama, investing in them and increasing revenues as market-rate tenants replace rent-regulated ones.

Sources said Gluck is expected to close this fall on the purchase of a troubled 33-story apartment complex in Crown Heights called Tivoli Towers. He agreed with the city to keep the building in the Mitchell-Lama program for 30 years and pledged to the city’s Housing Preservation and Development that he would spend $15 million to rehabilitate the building. Sources put the sale price at about $11 million, but the spokesperson would not confirm that figure.