Aby Rosen opens up about debt troubles, Jaffa protests and Ian Schrager

December 10, 2010 09:56AM

“Ninety-nine percent of our headaches are gone,” developer Aby Rosen, principal of RFR Holding, told the New York Times in a wide-ranging interview this week. “We have reshuffled all of our debt — we bought some back, refinanced it and pushed up maturity dates to 2015, 2016 — and there’s not one piece of debt that went back to the lenders.” Now, he said, RFR is back to an average 50 percent loan-to-value ratio. Meanwhile, he dismissed protesters of his planned luxury hotel on the site of a burial ground in Jaffa, Israel as “radical Jews” and confirmed that plans to build a Shangri-La Hotel at 610 Lexington Avenue are still on, despite the stress that resulted from the collapse of the project’s original lender, Lehman Brothers. Further downtown, at the Gramercy Park Hotel, Rosen is planning two new restaurants and an aesthetic redo, but he’ll be going it alone after splitting with former hotel partner Ian Schrager. The widely-reported split was indeed the result of an ego clash between the two men, Rosen said, but he stressed that the pair remain “very much friends” and that they came to a “very fair,” if confidential, agreement as they parted ways. [NYT]