Toll Brothers buys controversial Marrakech Hotel site for $44M

Previous owner just reached roughly $275K settlement with city over the property

Aug.August 07, 2019 02:46 PM
2686-2690 Broadway, Hank Fried of Branic International Realty (left), and Doug Yearley of Toll Brothers (Credit: Google Maps, Getty Images, and Toll Brothers)

2686-2690 Broadway, Hank Fried of Branic International Realty (left), and Doug Yearley of Toll Brothers (Credit: Google Maps, Getty Images, and Toll Brothers)

Toll Brothers has scooped up the site of the Marrakech Hotel on the Upper West Side from Hank Fried’s Branic International Realty just days after Branic reached a settlement over the property with the city.

Toll Brothers is buying 2686, 2688 and 2690 Broadway for $44 million, Fried announced on Tuesday. He indicated that Branic will now look to make new purchases, saying in a statement that the sale allows the firm “to engage in a series of strategic acquisitions that will advance the growth of the company.”
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The sale comes at the end of a long legal dispute between Branic and the city that centered on the real estate firm using the property as a hotel.

The city reached a settlement over the property with Fried in late July after an investigation by the Office of Special Enforcement found that his firm had transformed the residential building into an illegal hotel. The settlement prevents him from operating the building as a hotel and hits him with a $274,400 fine.

“Over the last several months Hank asked the obvious question, ‘Why are we continuing to confront the city of New York when the very subject of our court fight is about to be sold thus making it moot?’” Branic attorney Ronald Rosenberg said in a statement. “The city agreed, and both sides have permanently resolved the case, as it was far more economical and wiser to settle than to continue a battle that had, in fact, become moot.”

Representatives from Toll Brothers did not respond to a request for comment.

The legal battle started in July 2017, when the city accused Branic of turning 250 affordable rentals at 2688-2690 Broadway, 258 West 97th Street and 230 West 101st Street into hotel suites. The Office of Special Enforcement also fined Fried $55,000 last year for turning the Broadway building into a Marrakech Hotel.

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