New York City’s Princeton Club could have a solution to its problems in the form of a notable Princeton alum: former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
The billionaire has bid on the loan for the troubled club, people familiar with the situation told Bloomberg. The club defaulted last month on a $39.3 million mortgage, bringing the possibility of foreclosure into play.
The club previously received six months of forbearance from Sterling National Bank on the debt. The forbearance expired in September, leading the bank to bring in a Newmark team helmed by Steven Schultz and Evan Layne to sell the note by the end of November.
The debt on the 10-story building is set to be sold to the highest bidder, which may prove to be Schmidt. He bid on the debt through his family’s investment office, but Bloomberg reported that it’s not clear what kind of competition he’s facing in the auction, which is scheduled to end on Nov. 29.
The Princeton Club has been operating in some manner since 1866, moving into its current address at 15 West 43rd Street in 1963. Annual dues in 2019 ranged from $350 to $3,255, as newer graduates were allowed to pay less.
But the club fell on hard times during the pandemic, closing for 15 months and reportedly losing around one-third of its 6,000 dues-paying members.
The private club has no financial relationship with Princeton University, which is unique among other Ivy League clubs in the area. The club includes two restaurants, a banquet space, squash courts and 58 rooms for guests. According to Bloomberg, Schmidt would provide capital for improvements if he wins the bid, creating more co-working space.
The former Google CEO recently emerged as the buyer for the Hilton family’s Holmby Hills estate. Schmidt paid $61.5 million for the 2.6-acre estate and 15,000-square-foot residence, well below Rick Hilton’s $75 million asking price.
[Bloomberg] — Holden Walter-Warner