Despite legal battle, Chetrit closes on Hudson Yards development site

West Side lots trade for $26.5M

Oct.October 16, 2012 05:00 PM

The Chetrit Group has closed on its purchase of a Hudson Yards development site, despite an ongoing legal battle at the property between the site’s former owner and its lender, Fortress Credit.

Chetrit, the company behind the ongoing renovation of the Hotel Chelsea, paid $26.5 million for the four adjacent lots at 541­–545 West 37th Street and 540-544 West 38th Street, according to public records filed today with the city. The site, which is zoned for dense commercial and limited residential uses, was marketed by Massey Knakal Realty Services. It has 172,813 square feet of “as-of-right” development potential, and up to 373,275 square feet of development potential through additional incentives.

Chetrit’s plans for the site were not immediately clear. Neither Chetrit nor Fortress was immediately available for comment.

There were multiple bidders on the site, Bob Knakal told The Real Deal, which pushed offers up to the full asking price. “All of the properties in the Hudson Yards area have seen tremendous demand from the buying community,” he said.

Meanwhile, legal trouble between the site’s former owner Baruch Singer and Fortress is still ongoing. Fortress filed to foreclose on Singer’s property in 2008, according to court records, and finally took title following a foreclosure auction in September. As The Real Deal previously reported, Singer accused Fortress earlier this month of backing out of an agreement not to sue him in a deficiency judgment after selling the property for a loss. It was initially thought that the legal battle could delay Chetrit’s closing.

The Chetrits may have gotten a good deal; in court documents, Singer claims that Fortress turned away a prospective buyer of the property who offered $36 million for the site. Knakal said he had no knowledge of the $36 million offer.

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