Stalled UES condo development site gets $25.6M loan

A vital bridge loan from Canyon Capital Realty Advisors for the stalled condominium development at 1355 First Avenue known as the Charles has finally gone through, according to a press release from Canyon.

The $25.6 million senior loan for developer Bluerock will enable the $170 million Upper East Side project to “refinance existing debt and to resume pre-development activities,” at the embattled site between 72nd and 73rd streets. The infusion from Los Angeles-based Canyon has been held up by legal issues since last month. Bluerock will retain development firm Victor Homes to get things going at the site, where construction should begin in the next 12 months, according to the release.

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Bluerock, which is led by former restauranteur Ramin Kamfar, had previously sued an unnamed lender who refused to officially write off a $6 million loan it provided to Bluerock in 2010. Glacier 1355 First Avenue LP, as the entity was known in documents filed in the New York State Supreme Court, effectively blocked the needed funds from Canyon in a bid to receive a percentage of the revenue stream from the development, despite the fact that their loan had been repaid in full. The construction loan’s terms did specify that modifications allowing it to invest in the project were allowed, although the original loan amount was minimal compared with the $90 million Bluerock needs for the project.

Ismael Leyva Architects P.C. will design the planned tower, which should rise to 32 stories upon completion.

“We appreciate the Canyon team’s tremendous ability to close a complex transaction quickly. Their team was accretive throughout the entire underwriting process,” Bluerock CEO Kamfar said. “With the financing now in place, we have certainty that we will complete the pre-development process.” — Guelda Voien