The Real Deal New York

Carthage must be thrilled: Developer closes on $28M Harlem complex deal

Deal will help Abyssinian's shaky finances
By Kathryn Brenzel | December 21, 2017 04:05PM

Ennis Francis townhouses and Ed Poteat (Credit: Google Maps and Twitter)

Abyssinian Development Corp. has finally closed on the $27.8 million sale of part of the Ennis Francis Houses in Central Harlem, following a protracted legal feud with the buyer.

Carthage Real Estate Advisors agreed to buy part of the 147,000-square-foot rental complex back in September 2015, but the deal was held up by disagreements over payment installments and lack of approvals from the city. After more than two years, however, the sale of townhouses on 124th Street  has closed, Abyssinian announced on Thursday.

Representatives for Carthage didn’t immediately return calls seeking additional information.

In a statement, Reverend Reginald Bachus, CEO of Abyssinian, said the deal will help get the company back on its feet. To cover mortgage payments and address other financial woes, the company began selling off its assets in 2014, according to Crain’s.

The company sold the former site of the Renaissance Ballroom to BRP Companies in 2014 and 28 brownstones to Genesis Companies in 2015. The city pulled $3.1 million in contracts with Abyssinian in 2015, saying the company hadn’t filed tax and audit forms since 2011.

“The deal with Ed Poteat and Carthage Advisors is part of ADC’s strategy to be financially viable and empower the next generation of minority developers to do the work of large-scale development in Harlem and the region,” Bachus said.

The company has a portfolio of roughly 700 low-to-moderate income housing units.

Carthage, an affordable housing developer based in Harlem, plans to demolish the vacant portion of the Ennis Francis Houses. (The complex has been split into three different parcels. The occupied portions are not for sale). The company plans to build a 300,000-square-foot complex on the site, featuring 69 condo units and 263 rental units. Carthage sued Abyssinian in March 2016, alleging that the company was “attempt[ing] to impose additional and more restrictive conditions to the contract of sale.” It’s unclear how this dispute was ultimately resolved.

Clarification: An earlier version of this story didn’t specify that Carthage purchased part of the Ennis Francis Houses and only intends to demolish the vacant portions of the complex.