Argentinian developer BSD Investments has landed its first U.S. real estate project with the help of its architect and minority investor, Eran Chen.
A company controlled by BSD and Chen purchased two adjacent buildings at 62 and 64 Reade Street last month for a total of $11.55 million from two New Jersey-based companies, according to Chen’s architectural firm ODA and property records.
The entity, 62-64 Reade Street LLC, closed on $17.5 million in construction financing from Maxim Capital Group. Chen, who founded ODA, is the signatory on the mortgage documents.
Alex Polier, a spokesperson for ODA, said Chen is a silent partner with a minority stake in the project.
“We are merely the architect. BSD is the developer and the investor,” she said.
The partnership comes after ODA was hired to design two projects for BSD in Buenos Aires. One is a Class A office building and park. The other is a residential condominium. Polier said BSD expressed interest in developing in New York and Chen agreed to support them.
“They were looking for access to New York,” Polier said, adding that Chen is often a minority investor in developments he works on in New York “because he believes in the work that we’re doing here.”
Chen invests in nearly all of the projects that ODA designs, according to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The two properties that BSD and Chen bought are landmarked, mixed-use buildings built in 1915. Together they span 15,876 square feet. The lot is 3,522 square feet, according to PropertyShark. No plans have been filed with the Department of Buildings, which is headquartered about a block away from the site, but a person with knowledge of the effort said the buildings will be converted into condominiums.
Chen’s firm is known for designing glassy, gravity-defying new developments. Past ODA projects include Eliot Spitzer’s Williamsburg rental building at 420 Kent Avenue, a Midtown skyscraper for Triangle Assets, and All Year Management’s rental project Denizen Bushwick.
Architects investing in their projects is not unheard of, though architects serving as developers is rarer. The late John Portman, best known for his futuristic hotel designs in Atlanta, was a famous architect-developer whose dual role made him an outsider in the profession.
But near the end of his career the architecture world began to embrace his distinctive style and approach, which, as Paul Goldberger wrote in an obituary of Portman, would likely not have been built if he were not the developer too.
PincusCo first reported the Reade Street transaction and loan, which was brokered by Ackman-Ziff’s Andrew Sasson, Chad Sinsheimer and Michael Kopy. The brokers and lenders involved declined to comment.