Lightstone provides $44M loan to Shekhter-owned WS Communities

WS was started as a spinoff firm of Neil Shekhter’s NMS Properties

Sep.September 16, 2019 12:00 PM
Lightstone’s Eugene Rozovsky, Neil Shekhter and a rendering of 1650 Lincoln Boulevard
Lightstone’s Eugene Rozovsky, Neil Shekhter and a rendering of 1650 Lincoln Boulevard

UPDATED, Sept. 25, 3:52 p.m.: Multifamily developer WS Communities has secured a $44 million loan to refinance two development projects in Santa Monica.

The senior loan was provided by New York-based Lightstone Capital, Lightstone Group’s real estate debt platform that launched earlier this year. The firms, which are working together for the first time, announced the financing deal Monday.

WS was started as a spinoff firm of Neil Shekhter’s NMS Properties. In January, the Santa Monica city attorney filed a lawsuit against Adam Shekhter — Neil Shekhter’s son — and two others, claiming they used “unlawful tactics” to push tenants out. For years, Neil Shekhter was also embroiled in a bitter dispute with former joint-venture partner, AEW Capital Management.

WS plans to deploy the capital toward two development projects, located at 1650 Lincoln Boulevard and 1543 – 1547 7th Street. The project on Lincoln Boulevard will include 98 residential units and about 6,370 square feet of retail, spread across a five-story building. On 7th Street, the firm is planning a 100-unit building 4,440 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

Both projects will include an affordable component.

In a statement, Lightstone Capital’s Eugene Rozovsky said the firm sees “a lot of opportunities in the Los Angeles market,” specifically Santa Monica.

Ethan Blum and Justin Piasecki of Avison Young, in conjunction with Rahim Thobani of RST Capital Partners, brokered the deal.

WS has been actively pursuing development projects on the Westside. The firm is eyeing more than a dozen future projects, including a 94-unit residential building at 501 Broadway.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Neil Shekhter is a principal at WS Communities, and that WS had ongoing legal battles. It does not.

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