The Real Deal New York

Supermarket mogul Franzblau sells Chelsea inn for $4 million

By Leigh Kamping-Carder | February 03, 2012 06:00PM

Leonard Franzblau, founder of the Pioneer Supermarkets chain and a stakeholder in residential rental brokerage Manhattan Apartments, has sold the Colonial House Inn in Chelsea for $4 million, according to property records filed Tuesday.

The 20-room bed and breakfast was founded by the late music mogul and gay rights activist Mel Cheren, who opened up his brownstone at 318 West 22nd Street, between Eighth and Ninth avenues, to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1982, and then transformed the building into an inn three years later.

Franzblau acquired the property from Cheren’s estate in November 2008 for nearly $6.58 million, the property records show. That month, he gave an entity named West 22nd Street LLC an option to buy the building as early as November 2011, according to an agreement filed with the city at the time. The purchase option expired in November 2018, the agreement says.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the LLC, but Sandy Adelsberg, a sales and leasing agent with the management and brokerage firm Veritas Property Management, signed the agreement on behalf of the entity. She did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the transaction, which closed Jan. 17.

Rates at the Colonial range from $130 per night to $300 per night, the inn’s website says.

The same year that Franzblau, 83, bought the Colonial, he also invested $2 million to acquire a 50 percent stake in Manhattan Apartments. But that relationship has soured.

The brokerage’s founder, Gerald “Jerry” Weinstein, sued Franzblau this past July, claiming the supermarket mogul had conspired with rival firm A.C. Lawrence & Co., which was brought on as a consultant, to push him out of the business.

Franzblau has countersued, alleging Weinstein tried to block their access to the business. He also claims that a subsequent investment of $600,000 gave him an additional 20 percent interest in the business, making him a majority owner.