Witkoff and Access Industries buy HFZ’s languishing XI condo project

Companies acquire 76 11th Avenue in foreclosure sale

Steve Witkoff of Witkoff Group, Len Blavatnik of Access Industries and the XI (Getty, TheXI)
Steve Witkoff of Witkoff Group, Len Blavatnik of Access Industries and the XI (Getty, The XI)

UPDATED, Dec. 23, 8:05 p.m.: Steve Witkoff and Len Blavatnik are the new owners of the stalled XI condo project.

The real estate developers bought the twisting-tower luxury development at 76 11th Avenue in a foreclosure sale  Thursday after its former owner, HFZ Capital Group, fell into financial ruin.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Witkoff Group and Blavatnik’s Access Industries have secured financing to resume construction of the 900,000-square-foot, mixed-use towers on the High Line. The group recently acquired the mezzanine loan on the Bjarkes Ingles-designed project.

The Witkoff-Access partnership plans to begin construction on the condo, hotel and retail project early next year. The two towers are expected to rise to 26 and 36 stories. The project will have 235 condominiums, 137 hotel rooms, a spa, 85,000 square feet of leasable commercial retail space and a public plaza. Asset management firm Monroe Capital is a partner in the venture.

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“We are committed to completing this long-stalled project, which also includes a new public plaza and entrance to the iconic High Line Park,” said Steven Witkoff, Witkoff Group chairman and CEO, in a statement.

Walker and Dunlop’s New York Capital Markets team led by Aaron Appel, Keith Kurland, Jonathan Schwartz and Adam Schwartz arranged the partnership between Access Industries and Witkoff Group.

The project’s lender, a subsidiary of UK-based hedge fund The Children’s Investment Fund, had originally scheduled a UCC foreclosure sale for October of HFZ’s stake in the mixed-use development, marketing materials show.

The hedge fund provided HFZ with a $1.25 billion loan for the project in 2017, including a senior mortgage and a pair of mezzanine loans.

The XI was HFZ’s marquee project, but work stopped on the development in late 2019.

The Manhattan development firm founded by Ziel Feldman was once among New York’s most prolific condo developers, but has since been besieged by foreclosures, lawsuits, and liens. Feldman blamed the company’s demise on its former principal Nir Meir, who he alleges used HFZ’s money to pay for personal expenses. Meir’s attorneys have strongly denied the allegations.

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