The Real Deal New York

Developers of 111 West 57th Street supertall notch court victory over investor

Judge denies Ambase’s request to block foreclosure
By Konrad Putzier | January 24, 2018 09:00AM

From left: Kevin Maloney, Michael Stern and a rendering of 111 West 57th Street

The owners of 111 West 57th Street notched a major court victory last week when a New York Supreme Court dismissed Ambase Corp.’s latest attempt to block the development’s foreclosure.

Ambase, an obscure holding company based in Connecticut, once owned a 59 percent stake in the supertall condo project but fell out with the building’s developers, Michael Stern and Kevin Maloney. Amid the dispute, the building’s mortgage fell out of balance and the most junior mezzanine lender, Spruce Capital Partners, took control of the project through foreclosure in late August.

Ambase sought to undo the foreclosure through a temporary restraining order, which the judge denied last week. “The court simply denied our application for a stay of the lower court ruling, but our challenge to the validity of the transfer of title is alive and well,” said Ambase’s attorney David Thompson, of Cooper & Kirk. “We are confident that we will be able to invalidate the alleged transfer of title to Spruce.”

111 West 57th Street (credit: Hayes Davidson)

Attorney Louis Solomon, who represented Spruce, had a different take. “It’s not a technical knockout punch, but it allows everything to move forward more smoothly,” he said.

The foreclosure wiped out Ambase’s stake in the project, but sources say Stern’s JDS Development Group and Maloney’s Property Markets Group are still part of the new ownership.

The Real Deal broke down the project’s contentious history and its complicated ownership web in two stories last fall.

Once completed, the 1,428-foot-tall-tower will be the Western Hemisphere’s second-tallest tower by roof height, after Gary Barnett’s Central Park Tower. Condo sales have quietly launched and the first units went into contract last year. The official sales launch is planned for March, according to one source close to the project.