Rabina files plans for 70-story tower at beleaguered Fifth Ave site

Mixed-use development at 520 Fifth Avenue has struggled financially for years

Mickey Rabina and 520 Fifth Ave. (Rabina, Ceruzzi Properties)
Mickey Rabina and 520 Fifth Ave. (Rabina, Ceruzzi Properties)


A troubled Midtown development project is finally gaining some momentum.

Rabina Properties plans to build a 452,134-square-foot, mixed-use building at 520 Fifth Avenue in Midtown, according to records filed with the city’s Department of Buildings this week.

Plans for the 70-story building at the corner of East 43rd Street include 98 residential units across 16 floors, along with 15 stories dedicated to office space and several floors of amenities, including a solarium and private dining. KPF is listed as the architect of record.

Notably absent from the filing is a hotel and retail space, which were included in previous plans for the project. Rabina did not return a request for comment.

The new filing follows several rocky years for the development.

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Rabina joined the development team, a joint venture with Ceruzzi Properties and SMI USA, in 2019. The firm brought in an equity contribution that helped wipe out roughly $232 million in debt that the partners had been unable to pay.

The lender behind the debt, Mack Real Estate, was sued by Madison Equities’ Robert Gladstone in 2019 for allegedly backing out of a deal to sell Madison the defaulted debt and give it full control of the property. Gladstone’s firm had been in talks to join the development team in late 2018, but those negotiations fell through.

Mack Real Estate considered its loan, made in June 2017, technically in default following the sudden death of Lou Ceruzzi in August of that year. Ceruzzi purchased the lot in 2015 for $275 million with partner SMI.

Once Rabina joined the development team, Ceruzzi president Art Hooper told The Real Deal that the former would be “running this deal.”

“We’ll be codeveloping the deal, but we’ll be in the back seat to Rabina,” Hooper said.