The Real Deal New York

WATCH: Ziel Feldman on his firm’s monster Chelsea buy, why EB-5 won’t die … & more

By Jhila Farzaneh and Kerry Barger | November 28, 2017 01:05PM

From the moment Ziel Feldman stepped up to the plate at 76 11th Avenue in Chelsea, it was clear he was swinging for the fences.

In 2015, his firm HFZ Capital Group acquired the site at 518 West 18th Street for $870 million — or $1,100 per buildable square foot — in one of the priciest land deals in New York City history. Nearly two years later, the Children’s Investment Fund (TCI) provided HFZ with a $1.25 billion construction loan, one of the biggest condominium financing packages ever.

Now with a softening luxury market where sales are taking longer and prices are dropping, Feldman faces two potential outcomes: a home run, or a strikeout.

“I think I’m actually in a better position that I thought then,” Feldman said of his Bjarke Ingels-designed megaproject during a video interview with The Real Deal’s Hiten Samtani. “[$870 million] is a large number — the reality is, on a price-per-foot basis we paid less than what other less comparable land was trading for at the time.”

In order to profit off the project’s 240 condos, HFZ will need to sell them for more expensive per-square-foot prices — something Feldman believes will be achieved through the appeal of Six Senses Hotel Resorts and Spas, which will operate a 137-key luxury hotel at the development.

“Like Four Seasons, like the Mandarin, you can create a driver and greater velocity and higher price per foot if you can execute the right brand for your apartments,” Feldman said.

To watch Feldman talk about securing financing for the project, his condo conversion of the Belnord on the Upper West Side and why the EB-5 visa program won’t be eliminated, watched the video above.

Video produced by Jhila Farzaneh and Kerry Barger. Interview conducted by Hiten Samtani.