Real estate funds target mom-and-pop investors, behind the Playboy Club’s downfall

A roundup of New York real estate news for December 3, 2019

TRD New York /
Dec.December 03, 2019 09:15 AM
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More real estate funds are targeting individual investors. Jamestown, the company that sold Chelsea Market to Google last year, is marketing a $50 million fund aimed at mom-and-pop investors in the U.S. with a minimum investment of $2,500. Blackstone and Starwood have also targeted individuals in the past, as low interest rates have pushed more investors go after real-estate investments for higher yields. “If you enjoy places like this…wouldn’t you like to put your money into buildings like these?” Jamestown president Michael Phillips said. [WSJ]

 
Adam Hochfelder at the Playboy Club’s opening party with singer Robin Thicke (Alamy Images)

Adam Hochfelder at the Playboy Club’s opening party with singer Robin Thicke (Alamy Images)

Here’s how Adam Hochfelder’s Playboy Club venture went off the rails. For the real estate investor, who went to prison in 2010 for bilking investors and lenders and was back in court on another fraud charge this March, Playboy Enterprises’ first licensed U.S. venue in years was a chance at redemption. Instead, property and court records — including three lawsuits tied to the project — show a trail of unpaid bills that ran for two years and allegations of misused funds, “unconscionable fraud” and sexual harassment. Playboy cut ties with the club last month. [TRD]

 

A new $550 million plan to renovate the home of the New York Philharmonic is here. An earlier proposal, which called for the building to be stripped down to its walls and would require the orchestra to be out of the space for up to two years, was scrapped by city officials two years ago. The new plan, set to complete in early 2024, will provide much-needed acoustic improvements while reducing the number of seats from 2,738 to about 2,200. [WSJ]

 

Lord & Taylor is coming back to NYC… with a tiny pop-up store. The department store closed its 676,000-square-foot flagship in January after parent company Hudson’s Bay sold the building to WeWork for $850 million, and clothing rental service Le Tote later acquired the company for $100 million in cash. The 2,400-square-foot Lord & Taylor pop-up store will be open for two weeks on Wooster Street in Soho. [Crain’s]

 

A McDonald’s in Prospect Heights is facing a 545 percent rent hike. The recently-renovated store, whose lease extends through 2039, claims new landlord Vanderbilt Atlantic Holdings LLC is eager to push the fast-food chain out to make way for lucrative, high-density housing. Vanderbilt is allegedly using a $16.86 million appraisal to raise the monthly rent from $14,000 to nearly $90,000, according to a lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court. [NYP]

 

Hudson’s Bay has rejected a $1.5 billion bid from private equity firm Catalyst Capital. Catalyst’s proposal represented a 6.8 percent premium to the offer from Hudson’s Bay chairman Richard Baker and his partners, who own 57 percent of the Canadaian retailer and plan to take it private as part of an overhaul. Catalyst owns 17.5 percent of Hudson’s Bay and does not have enough votes to complete the transaction. Shareholders will vote on Baker’s offer on Dec. 17. [Bloomberg]

 

Sixth Avenue is having a moment, amid a wave of new projects. Morris Moinian’s Fortuna Realty Group is set to move forward with a long-delayed 26-story hotel project at 1150 Sixth, while 1271 Sixth, 1345 Sixth and 110 Sixth are all undergoing major renovations. The Avenue of the Americas has long been overshadowed by more prominent thoroughfares like Broadway, Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue — despite being home to landmarks like Radio City Music Hall and 30 Rock. [NYP]

 

Co-working company RocketSpace is exiting Britain. The San Francisco-based WeWork rival, whose arrival in the U.K. in 2017 marked its first overseas venture, is set to shut down its British subsidiary by April and is no longer providing tours for visitors. The move is another blow to the shared office industry in London, following WeWork’s reconsideration of its expansion plans and looming job cuts. [Bloomberg]

 

Orlando-based Yard House is bringing its fast-casual pub concept to NYC. The restaurant has inked a lease for 19,000 square feet at L.H. Charney Associates’ 10 Times Square, where it will take up the lower level, first and second floors. Publicly-traded parent company Darden Restaurants also owns such restaurant brands as the Capital Grille, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse. [CO]

 
Ed Gilligan and 3 East 94th Street (Credit: Getty Images, Compass)

Ed Gilligan and 3 East 94th Street (Credit: Getty Images, Compass)

 

American Express president’s widow sells UES townhouse for $21 million. Edward Gilligan purchased the mansion at 3 East 94th Street for $18.5 million in 2010, records show. It previously belonged to real estate magnate Aby Rosen, who renovated the property, adding a 400-bottle wine cellar and a sauna. The buyer is an entity whose president is Matthew C. Harris. [TRD]


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