Joe Nakash buys Apthorp garage for $12.3M

Jordache boss' investment outfit buys underground lot that's the subject of long-running litigation

From left: Joe Nakash and 390 West End Avenue
From left: Joe Nakash and 390 West End Avenue

Nakash Holdings, led by Jordache Enterprises chairman Joe Nakash, acquired the underground garage space at the Apthorp condominium for $12.3 million, The Real Deal has learned.

Nakash, one of the original investors at the 390 West End Avenue condominium conversion, acquired the space from sponsor group Apthorp Associates on June 12, according to documents filed with the New York City Department of Finance.

“We think it fits into our model of great location and great long term investment,” said Jonathan Bennett, director of real estate at Nakash Holdings/Jordache Enterprises. “You’re going to wake up in five or 10 years and the investment is going to look like a very smart move.”

The garage has been the subject of five years of litigation – which is still ongoing – after BEW Parking filed suit against the developers of the Apthorp in 2009. The lawsuit alleged that the condominium developers, who originally included Maurice Mann and Africa Israel, failed to give BEW access to the property for a safety inspection after a vacate order was issued by the Department of Buildings. Apthorp officials counterclaimed for at least $2 million in damages, saying that BEW was responsible for maintaining the garage.

The DOB issued a vacate order on the garage in 2008 due to substantial cracking and other defects, but allowed the property to reopen again in 2010, according to court filings in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Attorney Charles Michael, who represents the Apthorp, said he could not comment on the case without his client’s permission. Attorney Jose Baez, who represents BEW, was not immediately available for comment.

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The sale of the garage comes at a critical time for the Apthorp, a landmark condominium complex that has undergone multiple ownership changes and financial turmoil in recent years. Africa Israel and the other owners that acquired the building in 2007 lost control of the property to AREA Property Partners in 2012, and AREA, led by William and Richard Mack, was acquired in 2013 by a firm called Ares Management.

The owners are actively trying to get approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to build four new penthouses on the roof of the existing complex, despite fierce opposition from tenants, numerous unit owners and local politicians. At a meeting late last month, the LPC reviewed a new design proposal by the developers to build a two-story penthouse addition, but tabled the plan pending further revisions.

In a related development, The Real Deal learned that the Apthorp ended its relationship with Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group as the on-site brokerage for the building, according to documents filed with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in May.

According to an amendment to the offering plan filed with the AG, the developers plan to take sales in-house, and provided a copy of their broker-dealer license as evidence. It remains unclear whether the developers plan to hire a new outside brokerage to market the remaining apartments or the proposed penthouses.

As of September 2013, the developers claimed to have sold 67 of the building’s 155 units. The property originally had 163 apartments, but several have been combined to create larger units in an effort to attract families.

Apthorp and Corcoran officials did not return calls.