The Real Deal New York

Citi Habitats and Michael Stern’s JDS break up at American Copper Buildings

Bold will take over leasing at 761-unit rental
By E.B. Solomont | October 11, 2018 06:52PM

Michael Stern (blue), Jodi Stasse (red), Jordan Sachs (yellow), and the American Copper Building at 626 1st Avenue (Credit: CitiHabitats and American Copper)

Just a few months after Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group hit JDS Development with a $30 million lawsuit at 111 West 57th Street, the brokerage’s sister company and the developer are breaking up at another massive Manhattan project.

As of Oct. 31, Citi Habitats will no longer market Michael Stern’s American Copper Buildings rental project, sources said. At that point Bold New York will take over the lease-up.

Citi Habitats sent JDS a notice of termination on Oct. 2, several weeks before its exclusive marketing agreement was set to run out on Oct. 31, according to a copy of the letter viewed by The Real Deal.

But each side sought to portray the split at American Copper as their own decision.

“We continuously review all contracts to make sure that we are optimizing efforts and the contract with [Citi Habitats] is at the end of its term,” Stern said in an email. “Current leasing efforts have been hugely successful and we are excited about establishing the campaign to lease the remaining higher floor units.”

Corcoran Group CEO Pam Liebman confirmed that Citi Habitats was no longer on the project.

“We felt like our resources could be better utilized elsewhere,” she said, citing the firm’s upcoming projects like Sheldon Solow’s 685 First Avenue, which has 408 rental units.

Sources said Citi Habitats had leased nearly 75 percent of American Copper’s 761 apartments — or roughly 570 units. The building currently has 10 units listed on StreetEasy, ranging from a one-bedroom asking $4,689 to a three-bedroom penthouse asking $24,000.

But the rental market has been notoriously slow and the market was flooded with concessions in September, according to a report by Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman.

At 111 West 57th, Corcoran Sunshine filed a suit against JDS and Property Markets Group in June, alleging the developers “undermined” the marketing effort at the project.

Although the developers said Corcoran Sunshine was terminated because it didn’t hit sales benchmarks, the suit claimed infighting and legal spats between the developers were to blame.