Can Steve Witkoff save the Battery Maritime hotel?

Lenders talk to developer about kick-starting stalled project

Steve Witkoff and a rendering of the Battery Maritime Building
Steve Witkoff and a rendering of the Battery Maritime Building

Steve Witkoff, white knight?

Lenders on the stalled Battery Maritime hotel have reached out to the Witkoff Group [TRDataCustom] founder to join the project and, hopefully, rescue it from further delays. Earlier this year, the Dermot Company was removed from the project when it was unable to secure enough capital to compete construction.

After failed negotiations with Connecticut-based Stonleigh Capital to take the helm, the lenders — known as the New York City Waterfront Development Fund — are trying to kickstart the project, the New York Post reported.

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Plans for the landmarked Battery Maritime building include a 70-room luxury hotel with a rooftop and restaurant. The city’s been looking to develop the building since the 1980s, and finally signed a 99-year lease in 2012 with developers led by current and former Dermot Company executives.

But last year, the project hit a major roadblock when construction costs ballooned to at least $125 million as a result of changes in the federal historic tax-credit program, as well as an abatement needed after Superstorm Sandy. The developers were also seeking $77 million from EB-5 investors.

A spokesperson for the Economic Development Corp., said so far no changes have been made. “Until such time as a new partner comes in to complete the development, there is still an existing [lease] between EDC, the original development team and their lenders,” the spokesperson said. [NYP]E.B. Solomont