Exec moves to company suing former boss, Elie Schwartz

Avi Kollenscher joins Capstone Equities from troubled Nightingale

Exec Moves to Firm Suing Ex-Boss, Nightingale’s Elie Schwartz
Capstone Equities' Avi Kollenscher (LinkedIn, Getty)

A former Nightingale executive is moving to a company that is suing the troubled developer.

Avi Kollenscher joined Capstone Equities as a partner and chief operating officer, he announced on LinkedIn. New York-based Capstone has some familiarity with Elie Schwartz’s Nightingale: It is suing an affiliate, alleging that Nightingale defaulted on a loan tied to the Whale Building in Brooklyn and that Schwartz shirked guarantees.

Kollenscher joined Nightingale in 2022, overseeing development, leasing and portfolio management. He left last summer as Nightingale and its founder, Schwartz, became engulfed in scandal and its office portfolio faced distress.

A graduate of Wharton, Kollenscher began as an analyst at UBS Investment Bank, then jumped to Related Companies and stayed at the development firm for nearly two decades. There, he oversaw over $2 billion in projects and managed a 3 million-square-foot portfolio of retail assets.

Kollenscher is the second former executive Nightingale to recently land a new job. Nightingale’s one-time director of acquisitions, Will Hutton, joined InterVest Capital Partners, which was Nightingale’s main capital partner.

Kollenscher, through a representative, declined to comment.

Nightingale was an active buyer of large office buildings in New York City and Philadelphia. Its bets went south when remote work and rising interest rates decimated office values.

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Things got worse last July when a trustee representing investors in two Nightingale office deals accused Schwartz of misappropriating money. The trustee alleged that about $12 million was plowed into First Republic stock and options before the bank was seized by regulators.

Schwartz settled, agreeing to sell his Manhattan penthouse and his chateau-inspired mansion in Englewood, New Jersey. As part of the deal, Schwartz was supposed to sell a Miami Beach office property.

Schwartz missed his first payment to investors earlier this month. 

Capstone Equities is led by Joshua Zamir and Daniel Ghadamian. In the past few years, it has bought hotels through foreclosures or at substantial discounts, including the 98-room Life Hotel at 19 West 31st Street and the 172-room Renwick Hotel at 118 East 40th Street.

In August, Capstone foreclosed on one of Nightingale’s key assets, the Whale Building in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. Capstone is still pursuing a lawsuit against Schwartz, alleging he breached guarantees on an $88 million loan.

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