First 111 West 57th Street units go into contract

Developers halted marketing last year amid weak market

From left: Rendering of 111 West 57th Street, Michael Stern and Kevin Maloney (Credit: Getty Images)
From left: Rendering of 111 West 57th Street, Michael Stern and Kevin Maloney (Credit: Getty Images)

It’s not all bad news at 111 West 57th Street. Amid the headlines over legal squabbles between developers Michael Stern and Kevin Maloney and investor Ambase Corporation, the first condominiums at the luxury development quietly went into contract.

Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, which issued a $325 million mezzanine loan on the 60-unit project, shared the news during its quarterly earnings call Wednesday. The company didn’t specify how many units are in contract, but CEO Stuart Rothstein claimed they sold at “prices well over (Apollo’s) basis.”

Last March, the developers announced they would hold off on sales, citing a weak luxury market.

“If the market were red-hot, people would be buying off plans, throwing checks down, and it’d be great,” Maloney told Bloomberg at the time. “But if you have a market where you think marketing would be ineffective for now, why would you launch and spend the money? Wait.”

Marketing hasn’t officially resumed yet, and is expected to do so in the fall, according to sources.

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Stern, the CEO of JDS Development Group, declined to comment on the units that went into contract. And Maloney, who heads Property Markets Group, could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to the offering plan approved by the New York Attorney General’s Office, prices on apartments will start at $15.5 million. The most expensive unit listed, on the 74th floor, is asking $58 million, the offering plan shows. Similar to the tactic used by competitors Extell Development at Central Park Tower and Vornado Realty Trust at 220 Central Park South, several of the largest units at 111 West 57th Street don’t yet have sticker prices.

The 1,418-foot-tall tower, designed by SHoP Architects, has a projected sellout of $1.45 billion, with an average asking sales price of $5,740 per square foot, lower than that of Central Park Tower and 220 Central Park South.

Ambase, which holds an equity stake in 111 West 57th Street, and the developers have been trading lawsuits over the past year. The small real estate investment trust accuses Stern and Maloney of trying to dilute its stake, and last week filed a lawsuit to block foreclosure proceedings that could lead to its stake being wiped out. Stern and Maloney have accused Ambase of withholding crucial funding for the tower.

Earlier this week, The Real Deal explored how deep the ultra-luxury market is, and the challenges developers will face in finding buyers for pads priced over $30 million.