A bankrupt Upper Manhattan development site that ruined its developer’s finances is finally up for sale after a decade-long ordeal.
Developer Rutherford “Ruddy” Thompson’s One Bennett Park condominium site at 33-35 Overlook Terrace is expected to go to auction in about three months, Crain’s reported, citing the site’s owner, his lawyer and other sources.
Ariel Property Advisors has been hired to market the empty plot of land, which can be developed into 146,000 square feet of residential space and another 130,000 square feet for a community facility.
“The auction could be in about 90 days, but an agreement has not yet been formalized and I can’t be more specific. We expect to work it out this week,” bankruptcy attorney Kevin Nash told Crain’s.
The auction is scheduled to take place about a year after it was originally slated, last August 15, before Thompson filed for bankruptcy protection to delay foreclosure proceedings.
The planned 23-story, 114-unit condominium development at the site, which Thompson acquired in 2006, fell victim to the financial crisis as well as the difficult geology of the site itself. The project, which would have been Thompson’s first ground-up development, has left his family life, his health and his finances in tatters.
“If I don’t get any proceeds from this sale, I’ll have absolutely nothing,” Thompson said. “No place to live. No money.”
Amalgamated Bank holds more than $30 million of debt on the property, and it is unclear whether the proceeds from a sale will be enough to pay it off.
The Fort Tryon Jewish Center, a neighboring synagogue that was demolished when construction began, has been involved in the bankruptcy negotiations and will likely seek to reserve space for itself in any future development.
The 69-year-old Thompson, who is now working as a residential broker in the city to make ends meet, says he is still looking for a partner to develop the property with him. [Crain’s] — Kevin Sun