The Real Deal New York

Yair Levy’s daughters sell FiDi retail condo to Hubb NYC

Fallen mogul was banned from selling real estate securities in 2011
By Mark Maurer | January 25, 2017 06:25PM

From left: Johnny McCarthy, 71 Nassau Street and Yair Levy (credit: STUDIO SCRIVO)

Yair Levy’s daughters, in partnership with Ezra Mashaal of the Kash Group, sold the retail condominium at the base of the 16-story Financial District apartment building known as the Croft, sources told The Real Deal.

Hubb NYC Properties TRData LogoTINY paid $19.6 million for the 5,650-square-foot condo at 71 Nassau Street last week, sources said. Yair Levy and Mashaal converted the Beaux-Arts office building on the site to 52 luxury residential condos in 2005. The retail component, however, belongs to Yair Levy’s two daughters, Rafaela and Galit Levy, and Mashaal.

Dan Deutsch, a son-in-law to Yair Levy who spoke on his behalf, told TRD that Yair had no ownership in the condo. Sources said the Levy family is searching for Manhattan properties to acquire as part of 1031 exchanges.

The conversion of the Croft building was one of Yair Levy’s several condo projects during the boom. His firm, YL Real Estate Developers, was responsible for Manhattan condo conversions such as 225 Rector Place, the Sheffield and the Park Columbus. His $400 million empire declined in the downturn as he faced financial problems and claims of impropriety. And in 2011, he was permanently banned by the New York state Attorney General’s office from selling condos and co-ops in the state.

In statement provided to TRD on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the AG’s office said, “We take all violations of New York’s real estate securities law seriously, as demonstrated by the barring of Mr. Levy from selling co-ops and condos in the State, and the criminal action we’ve previously taken against those who violate court orders.”

Since Yair Levy’s ban, the developer has largely stayed under the radar. In 2013, he bought six low-rise row houses on Tin Pan Alley at 45-55 West 28th Street in NoMad for a combined $21.5 million, records show.

Levy told Crain’s in 2014 that although he had no plans to do so, he could legally demolish those buildings and develop a condo tower despite the ban. Levy contended this was because he bought the Tin Pan Alley buildings through five LLCs named after each of the addresses, and that the chief executives of all five entities are Galit and Rafaela. But Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office also told Crain’s in the same article that Tommy and Alice Huang, a couple who had been banned from selling securities, were later fined $5 million after the office learned they used their son as a front to sell real estate securities post-ban.

The retail condo, which also has the address of 29 John Street, holds 12 tenants, including Verizon and Sprint. It’s fully occupied and all of the leases expire between 2019 and 2026. There is 150 feet of wraparound street frontage.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Stephen Preuss, Will Suarez and Denise Prevete marketed the condo on behalf of the seller. The brokers declined to comment.

Hubb NYC Properties, which changed its name from Trevi Retail in 2015, frequently buys rental buildings and retail in Manhattan. The Midtown-based firm, led by Johnny McCarthy, paid $25 million for a Lower East Side rental building and an Upper West Side rental for $22.2 million last year.