Extell pushes forward plans for UWS condo with new partner

775-foot tower at West 66th Street will include 127 units over 38 floors

Gary Barnett, Lars Windhorst and 50 West 66th Street (Getty, Extell)
Gary Barnett, Lars Windhorst and 50 West 66th Street (Getty, Extell)

Extell Development is bringing on a new partner for its 775-foot Upper West Side condo tower, which caught heat from the city and local residents last year.

The Gary Barnett-led firm announced Monday that it has teamed up with Tennor Holding B.V., a global investment firm that invests in public and private companies across a range of industries, to co-develop the project at 50 West 66th Street.

The Snøhetta-designed building will feature 127 units over 38 floors, the statement said. Amenities include an indoor pool, basketball court and bowling alley.

The development has faced a series of setbacks over the years. Last January, the city’s Department of Buildings gave Extell 15 days to amend its plans for the site after determining that 150-feet of height containing only empty space — built in to allow penthouses to sit higher — would violate zoning laws. After the new plans were accepted by the city, neighbors at the site filed a lawsuit against Extell over zoning complaints, in an effort to halt construction.

Extell was also accused of misleading the public about the building’s height, after initial plans filed in 2015 put the building at 262 feet tall. (The figure was revised to 775 feet in 2017, after Extell spent $202 million on air rights.)

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While the project appears to be moving forward, the latest announcement comes at a difficult moment in the luxury market, which has been struggling for years, and slid into further decline after the pandemic hit. The glut of unsold inventory in the market has led developers to offer price cuts, concessions and rent-to-own deals, among other strategies. In April, Extell announced across-the-board price cuts at its One Manhattan Square condo “in response to global conditions related to Covid-19.”

Still, Lars Windhorst, chairman of Tennor’s advisory board, said in a statement that “despite the current challenging environment, Tennor has a long-term belief in New York’s global importance.”

Windhorst, a German financier who reportedly garnered fame as a teenage entrepreneur, has a history of weathering tumult: He’s dealt with personal bankruptcy, a suspended jail sentence and the collapse of two companies, according to a profile in the Financial Times. Tennor, which was founded in 2009, has investments in technology, natural resources, media, and other sectors, in addition to real estate.

It’s not immediately clear what the partnership with Tennor means for Extell’s earlier partners, Megalith Capital and Kazakh private-equity fund Meridian Capital Limited, the latter of which invested more than $200 million into Extell’s New York real estate projects, according to a 2018 analysis by The Real Deal. Extell declined to comment. Megalith and Meridian did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at so@therealdeal.com

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