While many developers have seen reversals of fortune in the late 2000s, few were as colorful and well-publicized as Kent Swig's.
For most of his career, Swig was considered real estate royalty: a prominent commercial landlord, a principal in Terra Holdings, and Harry Macklowe's son-in-law. Swig's standing suffered, though, as he lost control of development projects, faced an onslaught of litigation and separated from his wife.
Many of Swig's troubles centered around his conversion of Sheffield57 on West 57th Street, which faced numerous lawsuits from tenants after he bought it with other investors for $418 million in 2005. Swig made headlines when one of those partners, Yair Levy, hit him in the head with an ice bucket during a 2008 meeting. The team lost control of the building to a creditor in 2009.
The same year, Lehman Brothers filed to foreclose on 45 Broad Street, where Swig (and partners including Robert De Niro) intended to develop a hotel. In 2010, Swig closed the Helmsley-Spear brokerage, which he'd purchased a few years prior, and defaulted on a $12 million loan at 80 Broad Street.
Swig, a California transplant and a surfer, also faced personal financial woes, with a reported $50 million in personal debt.
In an exclusive interview with The Real Deal in December 2010, however, Swig was sanguine about his future prospects, and said he'd made an agreement with the creditor that took over the Sheffield, Fortress, that gives him a share of potentially "enormous" future profits. He also said that as part of the agreement, he'd agreed to be depicted as "the fall guy" in the press.