A stalled supertall condo project at 125 Greenwich Street, one of the most hotly anticipated skyscrapers until it was mired in financing complications, is ready for its comeback.
Bizzi & Partners and Fortress Investment Group secured a $313 million loan from Northwind Group, The Real Deal has learned, allowing it to resume construction at the project after threats of foreclosure and partnership disputes delayed the 88-story tower for years.
Northwind’s loan replaces an existing one issued by Fortress, which will convert its debt into equity and become the property’s new majority investor. Fortress will also add additional money into the project, according to a source familiar with the matter, and will replace former partners Howard Lorber’s New Valley and Chinese private equity firm Cindat.
“Fortress is a leader and innovator, and we are thrilled to be working with them on this project,” said Mario Tornaghi, head of special operations, Bizzi & Partners.
A Walker & Dunlop team led by Aaron Appel and Keith Kurland arranged the debt financing,
The building, designed by Rafael Viñoly, is 85 percent complete. In addition to its rounded corners and units with floor-to-ceiling windows, the project is unique in that it plans to use the top three floors for luxury amenities rather than penthouses. Douglas Elliman is leading sales and marketing.
With financing in place and a partner with deep pockets, Bizzi hopes to rebrand the project and relaunch sales this year. It would be a comeback a decade in the making.
The condo tower was meant to be Lower Manhattan’s answer to Harry Macklowe and CIM Group’s Viñoly-designed 432 Park Avenue in Midtown, which was completed in 2015.
Instead, it came to symbolize many of the issues facing the city’s then-oversaturated condo market.
In 2014, an investor group led by Michael Shvo, Bizzi, and New Valley paid $185 million for the site at 22 Thames Street, a former telephone factory for Western Electric. The 275-unit project was supposed to top out by 2018 and had a projected sellout of $875 million.
Cindat came on as a partner and the development group was able to raise $194 million from EB-5 investors through U.S. Immigration Fund in 2015, but Shvo was sidelined from the project after his 2016 indictment for tax evasion.
Talks to land financing began that year, and the developers finally closed on a $473 million construction loan from United Overseas and Bank of China in 2018. Less than a year later, the bank initiated a foreclosure on the property that threatened to wipe out the developers’ equity.
United Overseas sold its distressed loan to Florida-based investment firm BH3 in 2019, which then sold the loan to Fortress for $230 million the following year. Fortress, however, chose not to foreclose and instead become a partner in the project.
U.S. Immigration Fund, an EB-5 regional center operator led by Nick Mastroianni, has retained its interest in the project.
With $46 billion in assets under management, Fortress has played a role in some of New York’s most memorable real estate deals, including its takeover of Kent Swig’s Sheffield condo conversion south of Columbus Circle for under $100 million and Harry Macklowe’s $7 billion acquisition of several Manhattan office buildings from Blackstone in 2007.