Extell, Westbrook on the Rocks

The marriage between Extell Development and Westbrook Partners might be ending.

A change to their once forceful business partnership has forced Extell to again strike a major deal, this time to sell a high-rise apartment building in Hell’s Kitchen to Westbrook for $165 million. The building, the Encore, is 25 stories and is located at 301 West 53rd Street on Eighth Avenue, and the sale was recorded in city records.

This move comes on the heels of Gary Barnett’s Extell selling 17 walk-up apartment buildings in the East Village to Westbrook for $97.5 million.

The Extell-Westbrook sales are curious since the two are supposed to be in a joint venture together.

Extell purchased 301 West 53rd in a joint venture with Westbrook two years ago from Ruby Schron for $131 million. Extell and Westbrook also bought and redeveloped the former Stanhope Hotel at 995 Fifth Avenue near the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The moves mean the real-estate world should keep its eyes open for more sales between the two. If the partnership is dissolving, Extell could use the money to pay for a few projects; it’s planning for at least two new projects, including the 30-story Diamond Tower in midtown and the Lucida, an 18-story condo building on the Upper East Side.

In addition to construction costs, Mr. Barnett has to pave the way for the Diamond Tower, forcing him to buy everything from $5 million five-story buildings nearby to an $18 million buy at 55 West 46th Street a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, with these buys, Westbrook Partners has emerged as a Manhattan residential giant. After reportedly expressing interest in placing a bid on Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village last year, the company has taken a temporary break from its usual high-scale office purchases to buy these residential buildings in the Village and Hell’s Kitchen.

Calls to officials at Westbrook went unreturned. 

Charles Millard Goes to Washington

Let’s pretend that you’re an executive at a big real-estate firm and this firm winds up making the biggest deals in the biggest year in real-estate history. Would you leave?

Sometimes, particularly for Charles Millard, duty calls.

Mr. Millard, the former politician and now former real-estate executive, has been appointed by President Bush to take over as the director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. The former managing director for Broadway Partners and Republican City Council member was appointed on May 23 and has packed his bags for D.C.

So, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Wazzdat?

Extell, Westbrook on the Rocks