Court dismisses developer’s suit over luxe Governors Island spa

Douglas Elliman agent and investor Stefano Farsura alleged he was frozen out of project

Douglas Elliman's Stefano Farsura with QC Terme
Douglas Elliman's Stefano Farsura with QC Terme (Kirsten Jordan, QC Spa, Getty)

A court dismissed a lawsuit from Stefano Farsura, after the Douglas Elliman agent and investor alleged he was frozen out of his investments in a luxury spa.

Italian spa business QC Terme partnered with Farsura in 2011 for an expansion to North America, starting with New York. Under the agreement, Farsura would hold a 22 percent minority stake in the business.

Farsura — a managing partner of real estate investment and development firm Colonnade Group and husband to former “Million Dollar Listing New York” cast member Kristen Jordan — brought QC Terme to Governor’s Island. The complaint said the developer secured engineers, local architects, lawyers and consultants, along with orchestrating the lease, receiving a $20 million tax credit, introducing investors to the project, and convincing the Landmarks Preservation Commission to vote in favor of approving the project.

Farsura was not reimbursed for his efforts, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in New York Supreme Court in November 2021.

Things changed when private equity investor Whitebridge entered the picture and bought 47 percent of QC Terme’s worldwide business. The group insisted that QC Terme renegotiate Farsura’s 22 percent stake in the North American business.

“Instead of showing loyalty to Farsura, who had come on board when their North American expansion was nothing more than a pipe dream and shepherded the venture every step
of the way, QC Terme tried to change his deal from equity holder to salaried employee,” the complaint said.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Read more

When Farsura declined the change of terms, QC Terme denied that he was ever a stakeholder, and instead purchased all the valuable assets from the Delaware LLC jointly owned with Farsura, purported to dissolve the entity, and tried to cash Farsura out for pennies.

However in a series of motions filed Tuesday, largely against Farsura, the court denied QC Terme’s motion to dismiss the breach of contract claims.

Neither Farsura, his legal team nor QC Terme responded to requests for comment.

The Italian spa operator was the first commercial tenant on Governor’s Island, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2014, with plans to convert 80,000 square feet across three buildings. WWD reported the development hit a snag with the onset of the pandemic, which tanked QC Terme’s revenue from 91.5 million euros in 2019 to 39 million euros in 2020.

All told, the project’s first phase has yielded a $50 million redevelopment of military barracks. The location opened this spring, offering indoor and outdoor spaces for spa and wellness treatments a ferry ride away from the Financial District.