Bankruptcy for New Jersey’s historic Hersch Tower

Brooklyn-based Joel Friedman sought to convert Art Deco tower to apartments

Elizabeth’s Hersch Tower Goes Bankrupt

A photo illustration of Hersch Tower at 125 Broad Street in Elizabeth (Getty, Google Maps)

The owner of the tallest tower in Union County put it into bankruptcy this week, thwarting a foreclosure auction scheduled for the same day.

Joel Friedman’s 125 Broad Partners LLC purchased the 14-story Hersch Tower in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 2020 for more than $11 million. His plan, like that of the previous owner, was to convert the aging office building into luxury apartments with commanding views, but the project remains unfinished.

The deal was done with the help of an $8.5 million mortgage from a Jackson, New Jersey–based LLC.

Foreclosure documents filed in Union County show Friedman’s Brooklyn-based LLC defaulted on a balance of more than $13 million. Friedman beat out the imminent foreclosure auction on Wednesday by filing for Chapter 11.

“We were and we are in ongoing discussions with the lender to file a consensual plan of reorganization,” said Johnathan Pasternak, the debtor’s attorney.

Pasternak confirmed that Hersch Tower, located in the heart of the city of Elizabeth, remains unoccupied. Online listing sites show no units ready to be rented.

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The Depression-era building, featuring an Art Deco facade, fell into disrepair in the latter half of the century and changed hands several times.

Before selling the property to 125 Broad Partners, Hersch Tower’s former operator had city approval to redevelop the beleaguered 1930s building into 93 residential units and first-floor retail, according to Jersey Digs.

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The development would have been one of very few new or renovated multifamily properties in the commuter city. It is not clear how far along the luxury redevelopment was when Friedman acquired the property in February 2020, a month before the pandemic stalled development across the metro area.

Bankruptcy filings listed the Hersch Tower owner’s assets as well as its liabilities at between $10 million and $50 million. David Goldwasser, a popular choice for troubled New York City developers, is in charge of the restructuring.

Attorneys for the property’s lender, Levon NJ CXX, declined to comment.