Acadia, Benjamin Ringel face off over Food Emporium deal

Suit against Ringel and investor Tibor Klein alleges pair defaulted on $9M in loans

TRD New York /
Jun.June 17, 2014 07:03 PM

Developer Benjamin Ringel is set to face off in court on July 31 with Acadia Realty Trust after the lender filed suit to grab the proceeds from the potential sale of the former Food Emporium site at 2431 Broadway, following an April judgment for $11.5 million.

Ringel, the president of Armstrong Capital and a major developer of shopping centers, lost a foreclosure case involving a defaulted loan backed by the retail condo at the property, which has an alternate address of 250 West 90th Street.

The condo is at the base of the New West condo, which has 185 luxury units.

The site, which includes 20,000 square feet of retail space that is net leased to Food Emporium through 2025, is on the market through Jones Lange LaSalle, and according to court documents, has a June 17 deadline for bids.

Acadia, based in White Plains, filed suit against Ringel and investor Tibor Klein, alleging they defaulted on $9 million in loans.

LNR originally filed suit against Ringel in 2012, alleging a default on $16.3 million loan balance at the Food Emporium site.

Acadia claims that Ringel and Klein restructured their stakes in two Manahawkin, N.J., shopping centers and placed another $7.5 million in debt on the properties, which therefore impaired the value of collateral that Acadia was holding.

The suit, filed June 16 in Manhattan Supreme Court, raised concerns that Ringel, who is based in Lawrence, N.Y., would potentially flee the country for Israel, where lenders claim he has been spending more time recently.

Jonathan Asta, director of debt and capital markets at Acadia, a publicly traded real estate investment trust, said in a sworn affidavit that Ringel’s home at 90 Merrall Drive in Lawrence and a second home in the Hamptons are facing foreclosure and said he is “aggressively being pursued by creditors throughout the New York metropolitan area, to whom he owes tens of millions of dollars” adding that he has “disappeared from view.”

However, attorney Y. David Scharf, who represents Ringel, said that Judge Jeffrey Oing rejected most of the arguments made by the bank’s lawyers, and that his client is working to pay off the outstanding judgment.

“From our perspective it looked like a tactical move to try to strangle the borrower,” Scharf told The Real Deal. “Our client is exploring opportunities to try to work out a deal to pay the lender.”

A spokesperson for JLL confirmed that the property is on the market through the firm, but declined to give any additional information about price or who the bidders are.

Officials at Acadia were not immediately available for comment, nor were lawyers for the firm.


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