Starrett files for $232M UWS condo conversion

By Adam Pincus | August 21, 2013 11:52AM

A company with ties to the Midtown-based Starrett Corporation is converting a 28-story rental building on the Upper West Side into a condominium with a sell-out price of $231.5 million.

Axton Owner LLC, a Starrett affiliate, filed plans with the state Aug. 15 to convert the high-rise at 733 Amsterdam Avenue — known as the Axton — into 229 condo apartments and three commercial units. The building now has 229 rental units.

The filing with the New York State Attorney General’s Real Estate Finance office, which reviews and regulates condo and cooperative conversions and developments, identifies the project as the 175 West 95th Condominium.

The Axton was a former Mitchell-Lama building constructed in 1971, and a significant number of units are rent-regulated, City Council member Gale Brewer told The Real Deal.

“I am concerned. It is a real loss off affordable housing and rental units,” Brewer said, adding that she believes condos do not have the same resident stability as co-ops and rental buildings. She heard of the conversion last week and said building residents were expecting to receive additional information on the proposed conversion today.

“They are scared. They think they will get kicked out,” Brewer, who has been in contact with tenants, said. That, despite it being a non-eviction plan, which offers significant protections for tenants against developers.

Starrett officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Axton LLC and Axton Owner, which own the building, have spent $209,033 on lobbying the city, including City Council members and the Department of City Planning, city records show.

In November, lenders Angelo Gordon & Co. and LNR Corp. filed to foreclose on $55 million in loans secured by the Axton. That action was terminated on Jan. 31, about a month after an entity with an address at Starrett transferred an interest in the building to another entity at the same address for a recorded price of $57.6 million, city property records show.

The principals of the conversion sponsor are all members of Starrett’s upper management — Stephen Salup, senior vice president and general counsel; Peter Gray, a vice president; and Joshua Siegel, company president, the Attorney General website showed.