Sush Torgalkar has stepped down as CEO of Extell Development, The Real Deal has learned, less than two years after taking the top job at one of New York’s most active luxury residential developers.
In an Aug. 31 email seen by TRD, Torgalkar said he plans to launch a real estate investment firm, Sage Hall Partners, to focus on deals in the New York area. He will remain a senior advisor at Extell, which was founded by Gary Barnett in 1989. Barnett took the chairman role when Torgalkar came on board from Westbrook Partners in January 2019.
“Gary has and will continue to support my new endeavors at Sage Hall Partners as both an investor and advisor,” Torgalkar wrote in the email.
Reached by phone Thursday, Barnett said a “special opportunity” came up with Torgalkar.
“I’ll be involved there, as well, as a potential investor and advisor,” Barnett said. “We’re happy to see this for him.” Barnett added that his focus at the moment was navigating the market’s fallout from Covid and the overall luxury slowdown, and that he would consider a replacement for Torgalkar “over time.”
Torgalkar marks the second executive-level departure at Extell in recent times. Raizy Haas, one of Barnett’s longtime deputies, left in November after more than two decades at the firm. Extell’s marketing lead Anna Zarro, left in 2018 to form her own firm. Another top executive, assemblage expert Dov Hertz, left in 2016 to form investment firm DH Property Holdings.
Torgalkar’s tenure at Extell coincided with a turbulent time for the ultra-luxury market Extell is most focused on. The developer has hundreds of units on the market at projects like One Manhattan Square and Central Park Tower, a $4 billion condo tower in Midtown that is New York’s most expensive condo project. Eighteen of the project’s 179 units were asking over $60 million when the tower released its offering plan in May 2015.
Extell is also pushing ahead with a controversial 775-foot-tall condo tower on the Upper West Side, after bringing on global investment firm Tennor Holdings as a co-developer. Last month, Extell sold its 50 percent stake in New Jersey’s Pier Village to Kushner Companies, in a deal that valued the mixed-use project at $181 million.
At several condos, Extell has offered a slew of incentives from rent-to-own offers to free common charges for up to five years.
In July, HNA Group sold a condo at Extell’s One57 for $17.2 million, 43 percent less than the $30 million it paid in 2015. “It doesn’t represent the real-world price,” Barnett said at the time, though he admitted to frustration over the deal since Extell is still trying to sell sponsor units there.