BCB opts to refi instead of sell UWS portfolio

Multifamily investor took package asking $125M off the market

3143-3149 Broadway (inset: Debrah Lee Charatan)
3143-3149 Broadway (inset: Debrah Lee Charatan)

BCB Property Management is the latest New York City landlord to abandon hopes of a property sale in favor of a refinancing amid the market slowdown.

The multifamily-focused investment firm, led by Debrah Lee Charatan and her son Bennat Berger, took a six-building, Upper West Side-centric portfolio asking $125 million off the market and is refinancing it instead. BCB secured a total of $72 million in senior and mezzanine financing from Square Mile Capital Management, according to sources and property records.

The financing replaces and expands on loans provided by Square Mile when BCB purchased the portfolio for $80.8 million in 2014.

Berger, co-head of Novel Property Ventures, has been working to sell off many of the assets he and his mother amassed at BCB. In May, BCB sold a Williamsburg rental building at 218 South 3rd Street to a German investor for $23 million in May.

The firm hired Cushman & Wakefield in October to shop six of its rental buildings, five on the Upper West Side and one in Morningside Heights, all in close proximity to Columbia University. The 135,000-square-foot package had 152 rental units and five retail spaces, and a combined 38,300 square feet in air rights.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

The addresses are 3143-3149 Broadway; 500 Cathedral Parkway; 111 West 104th Street; and 242 West 109th Street.

“We believe strongly in the Columbia University expansion. We love being in the vicinity” of the school’s nine-acre commercial expansion, said Berger.

The Upper Manhattan investment sales market plummeted in the first half of the year, with a 64 percent year-over-year drop in dollar volume.

In recent months, investors have turned to refinancing to stay afloat at properties they at one point wanted to sell. Walton Street Capital and RXR Realty refinanced their office tower at 237 Park Avenue after de-listing a 49 percent stake, and a Property Markets Group-led partnership refinanced a newly developed Long Island City rental tower 1 QPS instead of selling it.

Will Parker contributed reporting.