Bankrupt brokerage mogul Jeff Winick is being forced to sell a majority stake in his eponymous retail brokerage — a palpable symbol of how far New York City’s once high-flying retail brokerage market has fallen.
A 63 percent stake in Winick Realty Group is up for sale, according to a notice published by Maltz Auctions.
The auctioneer is seeking offers for an immediate sale and is willing to “discuss and explore creative structures to any potential sale.” Court records show a bankruptcy judge in New York’s Southern District Court approved the hiring of Maltz in June.
Representatives for Winick Realty Group, Maltz Auctions and Gregory Messer, the trustee in the bankruptcy case, were not immediately available for comment.
Jeff Winick filed for personal bankruptcy nearly a year ago, claiming he owed $9.7 million in back taxes with just $530,000 in assets.
Winick Realty for a long time was the face of New York’s retail real estate boom, with its signs posted all over city storefronts and its brokers signing deal after deal as retail rents rose astronomically.
The 50-agent firm has leased more than 15 million square feet over the past 30 years, and Winick himself personified the business’s success. He rented out the most expensive and desirable cabanas at the Wynn pool party at the annual ICSC convention in Las Vegas, real estate’s biggest schmoozefest.
But the scene is much different now. After retail rents peaked several years ago the market took a sharp downturn, and with it went Winick’s professional and personal fortunes.