Harlem foreclosure spells opportunity for Gorjians

Young real estate entrepreneurs plan to turn project rental

From left, Cobby Gorjian and Justin Gorjian; 220 St. Nicholas
From left, Cobby Gorjian and Justin Gorjian; 220 St. Nicholas

The young developers Justin and Cobby Gorjian are foreclosing on a boutique Harlem condo. Having acquired the note on the property last year, the brothers — sons of Gorjian Properties founder Gideon Gorjian, a developer of 75 Wall Street — plan on taking title to the property, at 220 St. Nicholas Ave., and turning it into a rental.

The Central Harlem condo is slated to hit the foreclosure auction block November 29 with an outstanding lien of more than $12 million, according to PropertyShark.com, but the brothers, working independently of Gorjian Properties as Gorjian Real Estate Group, don’t think there will be much interest from other investors. “We don’t think the property is worth as much as we’re owed,” Justin Gorjian, 27, told The Real Deal.

The 10-story luxury building has been in the works since 2009; developer Piper-Cadmium launched sales at the property in 2010, but pulled the units from the market later that year following a foreclosure suit brought by the project’s lender Valley National Bank.

Valley purchased the $7.9 million note on the building from the development’s original lender, the Park Avenue Bank, in March 2010. The Gorjians purchased the loan from Valley in November 2011. It was not immediately clear how much they paid for the debt.

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The 11-unit building was originally slated to have half- and full-floor residences, all with private outdoor space, floor-to-ceiling windows and private entries via keyed elevators, according to Streeteasy.com.

Kyle Rawlins, founder and principal of Piper-Cadmium, declined to comment on how the project had been derailed.

The Gorjians declined to comment specifically on their plans for the units but said the process of completing the building will take several months after they take title.

The project represents the Gorjians’ first fully independent foray into the real estate game. Their company is focused primarily on acquiring debt, they said. “We’re young and we’re very eager,” Cobby Gorjian said, noting that the pair is already on the hunt for its next project.