Extell moves quickly against Frank Ring

Developer sues to force sale of seven buildings in the 14-property Ring portfolio

TRD New York /
Jun.June 21, 2013 11:00 AM

Extell Development is wasting no time to control the entire valuable-but-largely-vacant 14-building Ring portfolio after it gained 50 percent interest in the package this week. It is already suing to force a sale of at least seven of the properties, court records show.

Gary Barnett’s Extell filed complaints yesterday in New York State Supreme Court. The move came just two days after the development firm bought a 50 percent stake in the portfolio. More filings are expected today, one source said.

For decades, brothers Frank and Michael Ring each owned a 50 percent stake in the properties concentrated in the booming Midtown South market. Frank Ring, through F.M. Ring Associates, was largely responsible for managing them. Over the last decade, however, and accelerating in recent years, the buildings became increasingly vacant, and the once profitable portfolio began to lose money, court records show.

The judicial sale is needed because Extell and Frank Ring each own a so-called tenant in common interest, and would allow either Extell, Frank Ring or an outside buyer to purchase the properties at auction.

Princeton Holdings and its partners, including debt investor the Bluestone Group (led by debt investors including Tabak’s brother Eli), put down a $10 million deposit in 2011 in an effort to buy half of Michael Ring’s stake, or 25 percent of the package, for $112.5 million. But, Michael Ring balked at the deal, and the parties battled in court until Extell settled the dispute by snapping up Princeton Holdings’ interest for $74 million and paying Michael Ring an undisclosed sum.

The 1 million-square-foot portfolio includes 212 Fifth Avenue, 125 West 24th Street, 23 West 24th Street and 34 West 17th Street, and is estimated to be worth from $400 million to $500 million.

One source said Extell wanted to move quickly in an effort to consolidate the sale of the package with a related judicial sale a judge recently approved for 251 Park Avenue South. That building is now 75 percent controlled by Extell, with Frank Ring owning the remaining 25 percent.

Frank Ring and Extell did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Michael Ring could not be reached for comment.

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