One of Harlem’s most buzzed-about development sites is scheduled to hit the auction block today. Meanwhile, the developer’s partners on another project in the neighborhood are trying to get back valuable parking rights they claim he shifted over to the distressed site in order to line his own pockets.
Hans Futterman, whose RGS Holdings has developed a handful of Harlem properties including the 89-unit condominium at 2280 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, is in default on a roughly $36 million loan Ari Shalam’s RWN Real Estate Partners lent against his development site across the street at 300 West 122nd Street, known as the Ladera.
The developer’s 12-story condo building at 2280 FDB was one of the most successful in Harlem, and the Ladera project was expected to help complete the transformation of the intersection of Frederick Douglass Boulevard and St. Nicholas Avenue in the heart of the neighborhood.
Futterman assembled the site, a former Shell gas station and parking garage, for a total of $25.8 million between 2011 and 2015, and went ahead to secure plans and approvals to build a 160,000-square-foot, 126-unit condo building.
But the developer fell behind on the loan, and Shalam forced an auction that’s scheduled to take place at the Park Avenue law office of Greenberg Traurig Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, the principal of a minority partner in Futterman’s 2280 Frederick Douglass site filed a lawsuit on Monday trying to get parking rights he claims Futterman wrongly transferred over to the Ladera project.
Atul Bhatara claimed Futterman transferred parking rights allocated from their 2280 FDB project across the street to his Ladera development without compensating his other partners or filing the proper paperwork.
“Clearly Futterman realized that such blatant self-dealing would be an issue should it be discovered and he was attempting to clean up his mess after the fact,” the complaint reads.
Bhatara is suing to get the parking rights returned to the property at 2280 FDB.
Futterman denied the suit’s claims and refuted many of the stated facts as patently false, adding that Bhatara had been trying to squeeze money out of the project for years.
“He’s been trying to hijack money not entitled to him out of the 2280 project for years,” Futterman told The Real Deal.
Bhatara and his attorney could not be reached for comment.