Checkout time: Aby Rosen booted from Gramercy Park Hotel

Judge orders RFR to hand control to Goldman family’s Solil

Aby Rosen and the Gramercy Park Hotel (Getty Images, GACE Consulting Engineers)
Aby Rosen and the Gramercy Park Hotel (Getty Images, GACE Consulting Engineers)

Aby Rosen has officially overstayed his welcome at the storied Gramercy Park Hotel.

Rosen was ejected this week from his lease controlling the hotel by the judge presiding over a lawsuit filed by his landlord, the Goldman family’s Solil Management.

The 190-room hotel, which featured Danny Meyer’s Italian restaurant Maialino and works by such artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst, shuttered its doors as the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and never reopened.

Solil sued in April last year seeking damages of nearly $80 million and to oust Rosen from the property at 2 Lexington Avenue, which has been stripped of furniture and artwork and left to collect building violations.

“We believe the property is not being maintained and is deteriorating,” Janice Goldberg, an attorney for Solil at Herrick, Feinstein, said during a hearing last week.

Goldberg said Solil’s attempts to replace Rosen have been hindered because he won’t give the firm access to show the hotel to potential tenants.

“Right now we cannot say to prospective tenants when we have any realistic expectation of being able to deliver the premises if we were to be able to enter into a new lease,” she added.

A spokesperson for RFR, Roxanne Donovan, said, “Due to the impact of Covid and the terms of the lease, the tenant found it was no longer economically feasible to operate the hotel.”

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The Gramercy Park Hotel at  2 Lexington Avenue and Aby Rosen of RFR Holding (Getty; Google Maps)
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While the judge ordered RFR off the property, the matter of damages is still left to be decided.

Rosen’s RFR Holding acquired the hotel with longtime friend hotelier Ian Schrager in 2003 and took full ownership in 2010. The ground lease on the property runs through 2078.

Solil Management had sued to collect nearly $80 million in rent, but the judge in the case ruled that Rosen wasn’t personally liable for the sum.

Solil has split their request for damages, laying out the $11.8 million figure and asking for additional “liquidated” damages that are yet to be calculated.

Rosen’s attorneys neither disputed that his company owed rent nor opposed the order of eviction. But they argued that a collective bargaining agreement governing the hotel prohibited him from voluntarily surrendering it.

The Gramercy isn’t the only trophy property that Rosen has had to give up. In 2020 he handed over control of the Lever House to Tod Waterman’s Waterman Interests and Brookfield after he got mired in a ground-lease dispute with his landlord at the property, the Korein family.

Those troubles haven’t sidelined Rosen, though. He recently closed on a $290 million purchase of the office building at 475 Fifth Avenue in Midtown.