Tribeca’s twin condos seek new developer

By Sarabeth Sanders | December 09, 2010 03:52PM

The developer of the planned brick and aluminum twin condominium conversion in Tribeca is trying to flip the site before the shovels have even hit the ground.

Alvaro Arranz, principal of a major Spanish construction firm, bought the brick, turn-of-the-century warehouse at 401 Washington Street and its neighboring parking garage for $57 million in 2007. Now, after hiring architect Morris Adjmi to design a mirror-image aluminum version of the warehouse on the garage site, and obtaining all of the necessary approvals to carry out the conversion plans, Arranz is hoping a new investor will pony up $65 million to take over and finish the job.

The sale has nothing to do with a cash crunch, said listing broker Peter Hauspurg of Eastern Consolidated, who added that the owners still have “plenty of equity.” Rather, they believe the market has improved so dramatically within the past six months that they’re simply looking to test the waters.

But brokers familiar with the property were skeptical that the recovery has progressed as far as the seller thinks it has, noting that while the site is well-located, construction financing is still very difficult to obtain.

At a total of 108,000 square feet, the asking price for the site, which has an alternate address of 71 Laight Street, works out to around $600 per square foot for both the warehouse and the garage.

Reached by e-mail, Arranz directed questions about the property to Eastern.

“This is just a question of whether they can take a profit here and go on to something else, or go ahead and build it,” Hauspurg said. “They’re prepared to go both routes.”

Adjmi’s plans, should the new owner decide to keep them, call for two adjacent warehouse buildings, identical but for the aluminum-sheathed façade of 422 Greenwich Street, which is to be built from the ground-up on the site of the existing garage. The buildings would contain 18 high-end condos each, plus 11,000 square feet of retail on the ground floors and a shared interior courtyard.

According to Hauspurg, residential brokers have estimated that once complete, the lofts, each with 10- to 13-foot ceilings, would go for between $1,900 and $1,950 per square foot.