Trevor Davis files for Ch. 11 bankruptcy

By Adam Pincus | December 22, 2010 06:46PM

From top: Trevor Davis, Dina Lewis and 1055 Park Avenue (building photo credit: PropertyShark)Embattled developer Trevor Davis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday in response to a threatened sale of the $6 million mezzanine loan on the nearly complete luxury condominium 1055 Park Avenue.

Davis, who owns Davis Development Holdings, filed for personal bankruptcy, claiming mezzanine lender Zimco Holdings had taken unspecified “precipitous actions,” court papers filed this week show. He listed assets of $75 million and secured debts of $50
million, including from real estate he controls through limited liability companies.

“[Davis’] Chapter 11 case was filed on an emergency basis to stop a… sale of [Davis’] interests in a limited liability company pledged to a lender,” the court papers say.

Zimco had threatened to sell the mezzanine debt Dec. 10 and again Dec. 17, court papers show. Negotiations broke down between Zimco and Davis, Davis’ attorney Scott Markowitz, a partner with law firm Tarter Krinsky & Drogin, said.

The bankruptcy filing blocks the sale that would wipe out Davis’ personal equity in the project, bankruptcy attorneys said. The project’s development entity did not file for bankruptcy.

“We are going to use the process to sell the apartments in an orderly fashion at market prices,” Markowitz said.

Davis has been struggling with his Manhattan real estate investments this year, and lost control of a project at 65th Street and Lexington Avenue to residential developer Toll Brothers.

Davis was not available for comment, an employee at his firm said. According to his filings, he is out of the country now. Zimco did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Davis bought and later demolished a five-story residential building at 1055 Park Avenue at 87th Street in 2005 for $12 million, then borrowed more than $15 million from Wrightwood Capital to construct a 15,000-square-foot building with six residential units. But Wrightwood halted funding and to complete construction he contributed $4 million of his own money, and later borrowed $6 million from Midtown-based Zimco in March 2010, court papers say. Construction progressed, and the building received a temporary certificate of occupancy from the city Department of Buildings in August.

In November, a Florida entity called Park Avenue 1055 LLC, bought the first mortgage from Wrightwood. The company is controlled by Austrian investor Andreas Badian, a source familiar with the sale said.

Davis is seeking to maintain control of the property, and in fact his bankruptcy filing says there are offers for two of the six units. (There are only five units for sale, as one of the units is a superintendent’s apartment.)

Dina Lewis, a senior vice president at Prudential Douglas Elliman, which is marketing the property, said a contract was expected to be signed this week for the penthouse unit that was most recently listed for $4.3 million.

In addition, several potential buyers looked at acquiring the whole development, she said.

“We have had three separate parties view the entire building for purchase, one of which submitted an all cash offer [that was not accepted],” she wrote in an e-mail.