LIC development site to hit auction block with $39M lien

Site could support 214,792-square-foot residential project

A development site in the Court Square area of Long Island City is slated to hit the foreclosure auction block May 17 with an outstanding lien of $38.54 million, shows.

The residential development site, at 44-30 Purves Street, was formerly controlled by developer and landlord Baruch Singer and investor David Weiss, who financed a residential project at the site in 2006 with a $13 million mortgage-backed loan from G3-Purves Street LLC, an entity which appears to be linked to Goldman Sachs.

The lender filed to foreclose on the property last year after Singer and Weiss reportedly broke the terms of their non-recourse loan agreement with G3 by failing to pay $90,000 they owed in real estate taxes and several other liens against the property.

Baruch and Weiss acquired the property for $9 million in 2006, public records show. The duo also appears to have purchased an adjacent site for $5 million; that site is subject to the same foreclosure action. They listed the property for sale in 2007 with a broker team from Pinnacle Realty but failed to find a buyer before losing control of the site.

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With 214,792 buildable square feet, the lot is a perfect spot for a rental development of between 200 and 250 units, said Justin Elghanayan, president of Rockrose Development, which is developing rental towers en masse in the neighborhood but has no affiliation with the Purves Street site. The street “has a nice rhythm to it,” he said, referencing the adjacent SculptureCenter, which has invigorated the neighborhood.

The area is quickly becoming a hotbed for the development of new rental towers. Rockrose currently has $1 billion invested in the Court Square area, where it is building a 700-unit rental tower called the Linc LIC and has plans for another 700-unit rental building at the former Electric Eagle building at 43-22 Queens Street and a 945-unit rental building at 43-25 Hunter Street. Heatherwood Communities is also building a 142-unit rental building at 27th Street and 42nd Road, while the Wolkoff family has plans to build a residential development at 5 Pointz, the Aerosol Art Center in the neighborhood.

Singer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither Weiss nor the lender, whose identity was not immediately clear, could not be reached.