Isaac Chetrit and Charles Aini are in contract to sell a 14-story Garment District office building to New Jersey-based importer-exporter Frank Ng for $38 million, just a year after rescuing the property from distress, sources told The Real Deal.
The investors were the winning bidders at a July 2015 bankruptcy auction to buy the vacant office building at 315 West 35th Street, resulting in a closed $43 million purchase that September. They had sought to convert the 63,000-square-foot property into high-end residential condominiums.
Although the building may appear to be selling at a loss, that’s not the case. Chetrit was one of the building’s creditors, acquiring the debt on the property for $10.75 million in 2010.
At the time of Chetrit’s purchase with Aini, the total debt on the building was about $29 million. They paid just $14 million on the $43 million purchase.
A source said Chetrit and Aini invested about $22 million total in the building to date.
Ng, who runs Bayonne, N.J.-based Golden Fortune Import & Export, was the only other bidder at the auction, having offered $42.25 million. It’s not immediately clear what Ng’s plans are, but sources familiar with the building said it’s ripe for a conversion to either residential units or a hotel.
Ng’s real estate holdings include a development site with 240,000 buildable square feet at 132-144 West 28th Street, which he was looking to sell for $120 million in 2014.
The building at 315 West 35th Street has had a turbulent history. In 2006, developer and diamond dealer Aaron Chitrik bought it for $16.2 million and intended to convert it to condos. After the building’s lenders sought to foreclose on its debt, Chetrit stepped in to acquire the property’s mortgage amid various complications.
In April 2015, an LLC formerly associated with Chitrik filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after defaulting on a nearly $25 million mortgage on the property.
Chetrit runs AB & Sons with his older brother Eli, while Aini runs Aini Assets with his father Jacob.
Aini and Ng declined to comment, while Chetrit could not be reached. EPIC Commercial Realty’s Edan Cohen and Sasi Elya, who brokered the deal, declined to comment.
Elsewhere in the Garment District, Chetrit, who is a cousin of developer Joseph Chetrit, and Aini plan to convert a three-story retail building at 1420 Broadway into a hotel that is five times bigger.
Chetrit is also partnering with Ray Yadidi to build a skyscraper with as many as 80 stories on Sixth Avenue between West 36th and 37th streets.