Schrager enlists Lorber, Witkoff as partners on West Village lot planned for residences

By Adam Pincus | June 14, 2013 09:30AM

Howard Lorber’s Vector Group and developer Steven Witkoff’s Witkoff Group have partnered with Ian Schrager to buy an equity stake in a West Village parcel where the hotelier plans to build a large residential tower with Area Property Partners, Lorber and other sources told The Real Deal.

The three formed a joint venture to buy a stake in 156-162 Leroy Street and the adjacent corner parcel 357-363 West Street, owned by Richard Mack’s Area, a real estate investment firm that announced last month that it would be acquired by Los Angeles-based Ares Management.

The parcel has as-of-right zoning that could accommodate an approximately 89,000-square-foot hotel, but sources said the group plans to seek a variance for a residential tower of 100,000 square feet or more.

The new group recapitalized the property, which one source said now has a value of about $50 million.

Developer Peter Moore bought the parcel near the market’s peak for $34 million, but by 2011 he had lost it to lender Area, city records show.

Schrager in April filed plans with the city’s Department of Buildings to build a 67-unit, 13-story residential tower, according to BuzzBuzzHome. The site, across West Street from Pier 40, is now occupied by several one- and two-story commercial buildings.

Lorber, chairman of residential brokerage Douglas Elliman, and Witkoff have partnered together on several large projects recently, including a deal last month with Fisher Brothers to acquire the St. John’s University satellite building at 101 Murray Street in Tribeca and to redevelop 701 Seventh Avenue in Times Square.

A spokesman for Area declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Schrager, Witkoff and others partnered to buy 215 Chrystie Street in December for $50 million.

Brookfield Financial Managing Partners Eric Anton and Ron Solarz represented Area in its search for new investors. In addition, Howard Michaels, CEO of the real estate brokerage firm Carlton Group, represented the new investors in obtaining approximately $25 million in loans. Anton, Solarz and Michaels declined to comment. Witkoff and Schrager did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

With additional reporting by Katherine Clarke