Billionaire Jeff Greene doubles down in NYC market with two condo projects

Investment mogul is building in Hudson Square, Soho

Jeff Greene and 100 Vandam Street
Jeff Greene and 100 Vandam Street

Billionaire real estate entrepreneur and former Florida Senate candidate Jeff Greene has set his sights on New York City, with plans to bring two Manhattan condominium projects to market in the next few years.

Palm Beach, Fla.-based Greene, famous for predicting the housing crash and thereby making a fortune betting against subprime mortgages, is planning a 140,000-square-foot condo project at 100 Vandam Street in the Hudson Square area, he told The Real Deal yesterday. Nearby, in Soho, he is also heading up the condo conversion of a six-story building at 576 Broome Street, as previously reported.

Greene, who ran for the Senate seat in 2010, acquired two buildings on Vandam Street last year – a 14,700-square-foot commercial building at 92 Vandam for $21.3 million and a 40,000-square-foot office building at 100 Vandam for $27.5 million.

The smaller building has 42,496 square feet in unused air rights, while the latter has 23,550 square feet. The investment mogul will clear the site to make way for a roughly 75-unit building later this year, he said, once several leases at 100 Vandam expire.

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Massey Knakal Realty Services represented the seller of 92 Vandam, Sandro La Ferla, in the first transaction, which closed in December. The second building, controlled by a different owner, was sold in a direct deal.

The upper floors of the project will likely have one unit per floor, while the lower floors could have up to four units each, Greene speculated. The developer is currently in the process of selecting an architect for the building. The units will likely ask somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000 a square foot, he said.

Greene, who has never developed a property in New York City and is mainly focused on South Florida, said entering the market had not been a premeditated decision; the right opportunities just came along, he said.

In Soho, Greene bought the defaulted note on the Broome Street property after the previous sponsor, a group led by Trinity Development Group, fell into financial difficulties and faced foreclosure. He later took control of the property for $26.27 million in 2011.