Centaur bets again on West Chelsea with $45M buy

Once home to the Pink Elephant, the site could accommodate a 144,000-square-foot project
By Katherine Clarke | August 09, 2013 12:30PM

Developer Centaur Properties has paid $45 million to acquire a West Chelsea site with close to 110,000 square feet of unused air rights, according to public records and data from PropertyShark.com.

A 35,000-square-foot building sits on the site, at 526 West 28th Street between 10th and 11th avenues. It was previously home to nightclubs like Pink Elephant, Mansion and Crobar.

A developer could build an up to 144,000-square-foot residential building as of right; the site is also zoned for commercial use. However, it may require some environmental remediation since it was formerly home to a gas station.

A Centaur representative said it was too early to comment on the company’s plans for the block-through site. The seller of the property, RN Realty, headed by Neal Schwartz, could not be reached.

Centaur has previously been bullish on building residential projects in the Chelsea area. In 2011, the company sold out a cond-op it developed at 305 West 16th Street, known for its rooftop daisy sculpture, at prices of up to $1,400 a foot. The firm even went as far as to plan a “Google House,” a building that would cater exclusively to Google employees, several years ago, but the project never got off the ground as the result of zoning problems. Centaur is also the owner of The Adjacent Mckittrick Hotel On 27th Street.

RN purchased the property in 1998 for an undisclosed sum, public records show.

Last year, RN battled the building’s leaseholder, 530 W. 28th Street LLC, an entity controlled by Pink Elephant and Mansion operator Joseph Morrissey, for control of the building after the LLC allegedly defaulted on rent payments and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Meanwhile, the nightclub operator alleged that RN had demanded a $1 million payment to give its consent so that the space could be subleased to a new occupant. It was not clear how the case was eventually resolved.

A mini residential development boom is underway in Chelsea. New projects underway include Cary Tamarkin’s 10-story project at 508 West 24th Street, a 100,000-square-foot condo project spearheaded by HFZ Capital Group on West 19th Street and a new art-themed condo by Michael Shvo at 245 10th Avenue.