ING Gets Seven Midtown Properties at Discount

c breaks678lex 2h ING Gets Seven Midtown Properties at DiscountReal estate investor ING Clarion now finds itself the owner of seven midtown properties, after a deal with an entity called Berkshire Capital (not that Berkshire) fell through.

Just last year, a landlord named Uzi Ruskin sold six small lots at the intersection’s northwest corner—131, 133 and 135 East 56th Street, and 678, 680 and 682 Lexington Avenue—to Berkshire Capital, a firm based at 369 Lexington Avenue, for a staggering $36.4 million. Property records indicate that Berkshire also purchased the adjacent 684 Lexington for $15.6 million.

Sources say Berkshire—whose phone number no longer works—was planning to build a hotel at the assemblage, and that ING was an equity partner in the deal.

Fast-forward one year. On April 23, property records indicate that ING Clarion paid $13.5 million for those same seven properties. Sources indicate that ING Clarion appears to have bought out Berkshire’s stake in the deal at a sizable discount.

The managers of the various businesses in those locations, including Aries Nail salon and Sherwood Deli, told The Observer they’d just learned of the sale and hadn’t heard what the investment giant’s plans were.

Suzanne Franks, a spokeswoman for ING Clarion, declined to comment on the financial background of the deal, though she did confirm that ING Clarion was now in possession of the corner buildings.

“Given what’s happened in the market, we’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing with it,” Ms. Franks said.

drubinstein@observer.com