Trump Plaza co-op’s dilemma: big assessment or big rent hike?

Board decision could lead to $1M assessments per unit or sky-high rental reset

From left: 167 East 61st Street, Adam Leitman Bailey and Douglas Harmon
From left: 167 East 61st Street, Adam Leitman Bailey and Douglas Harmon

Soon after the ground beneath Trump Plaza at 167 East 61st Street hit the market, members of the co-op board began weighing whether to pay a steep price for the land or keep paying rising bills to rent in the building.

If the shareholders fork out the $185 million that they have offered for the land, they would be hit with unit assessments that could go as high as $1 million apiece. An owner of a two-bedroom with 440 shares in the corporation, for example, would be charged $1.02 million.

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The lease at the 39-story co-op building will reset in 2024, real estate lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey told Bloomberg News.

Several owners in the building contacted Bailey with concerns about the leasehold entering contract, particularly given the high land costs in the city. Douglas Harmon and Adam Spies of Eastdil Secured are representing the landlords, who are listed as Donald S. Ruth and members of the Ruth family, according to property records cited by the website

“Whatever opportunistic investor buys the land will probably be way more aggressive about the rent reset than either an estate or a group of heirs,” real estate attorney Joshua Stein told Bloomberg. “Someone who is buying it, is buying it specifically to squeeze out every last dollar of rent.” [Bloomberg News]Mark Maurer

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