The Real Deal New York

HFZ can launch condo sales at the Belnord

AG gives green light to $1.35B conversion at the rent-stabilized UWS property
By E.B. Solomont | August 15, 2017 03:25PM

From left: The Belnord, Robert A.M. Stern and Ziel Feldman (Credit: HFZ, Alistair Gardiner and Getty Images)

Ziel Feldman’s HFZ Capital Group can officially begin selling units at the Belnord — the gated apartment complex on the Upper West Side — after receiving the go-ahead from the New York state Attorney General’s office.

HFZ, which picked up the building in 2015, is aiming for a $1.35 billion sellout at the rental building, built in 1908, which occupies the full block between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue and East 86th and 87th streets.

In April, architect Robert A.M. Stern, who is designing the conversion, said the Belnord was poised to undergo a “very high-class Botox treatment.” For his part, Feldman said he hoped Stern’s “magic dust” would rub off on the endeavor, which amounts to something of a third act for the building, after residents endured a protracted landlord-tenant dispute and conversion to high-end rentals over the past 30 years.

But Botox and magic dust notwithstanding, the condo conversion will take patience.

HFZ plans to renovate and convert apartments into condos as rent-stabilized tenants vacate their units. As of April, there were 95 vacant apartments — out of 215 — primed for conversion. HFZ did not immediately comment on Tuesday.

According to plans filed with the AG, the developer’s $1.35 billion conversion is one of the biggest-ever for the Upper West Side. On average, units will ask $3,000 per square foot.

HFZ paid $575 million to buy the Belnord from Extell Development in 2015. Feldman, along with Gary Barnett’s Extell and Kevin Maloney’s Property Markets Group, partnered to buy the building for $14 million in 1994 and convert it to high-end rentals. Feldman later sold his stake.

Plans, which have been approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, call for reconfiguring apartments, as well as adding amenities like a gym and central air, and modifying the property’s circular driveway. Prices will start at $3 million for two-bedroom units, according to filings with the state Attorney General’s office. The priciest unit is a 5,093-square-foot pad with seven bedrooms asking $18.4 million, or $3,612 per square feet.