Phoenix Realty Group buys majority stake in West 49th Street apartment portfolio

By David Jones | March 23, 2011 01:00PM

Keith Rosenthal and 308-340 West 49th Street

Phoenix Realty Group, two months after buying a Westchester County apartment complex, said it entered a deal to buy a majority stake in the Orbach Group’s portfolio of 253 Apartments On West 49th Street in Manhattan, marking its first-ever acquisition in New York City of an existing multi-family property (note: correction appended).

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

In 2008, Orbach Group, based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., originally bought the apartments, located at 308-340 West 49th Street, from investors Nathan Halegua and Marty Newman for $70 million.

The agreement allowed the Orbach Group to recapitalize the debt, saving $6 million from the previous loan, but retain an ownership stake in the properties. City property records show a $44.6 million assumption of mortgage and a $10 million deed. New York Community Bank was the lender involved the deal.

“Rates were dropping and we wanted to reduce the debt,” said Meyer Orbach, president of the Orbach Group.

Phoenix Realty, with offices in New York and Los Angeles, has acquired more than $250 million in assets over the past six months, with the majority being in the New York metropolitan area. In January the firm acquired Beacon Hill Gardens, a Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.-based apartment complex, under a joint venture with Property Resources, a White Plains, N.Y.-based firm.

The firm previously acquired a portfolio of 548 rent-stabilized apartments in East Orange, N.J., for $24.2 million from Fannie Mae and Dime Savings Bank.

Keith Rosenthal, president of Phoenix Realty, said the rental market is picking up steam and tenants are actively beginning to move into new apartments, albeit with roommates.

“I think the world is starting to feel a little more normal,” he said.

Phoenix Realty is in talks to acquire properties in New Jersey and Connecticut and is actively looking for additional deals in New York City.

“We’re having conversations with people in the five boroughs,” said Rosenthal.

The Orbach Group, which owns about 3,500 apartments across the northeastern U.S., said it is about to close on a multi-family acquisition outside of the New York market, and is in talks on a separate deal inside the city.