Of Doormen and Drama
Kent Swig will reportedly face off in court with JPMorgan Chase tomorrow after suing the bank on Thursday, claiming that its plan to sell his office tower at 90 Broad Street violates a 2006 “last look” agreement that Mr. Swig had with the bank.
Not even the most coveted address or the most celebrated building is immune from the occasional financial contretemps, it would seem, regardless of the building’s all cash financing requirements.
Foreclosure proceedings are moving full-force ahead on the 740 Park Avenue apartment of Kent Swig and estranged wife Elizabeth Macklowe Swig, reports Michael Gross, the author of the consummate book on the consummate building.
He’s a rising litigator in the city and, at the side of well-known lawyer Stephen Meister, his career has been on the fast track.
Kevin Fritz has become Mr. Meister’s right hand man in a host of cases, including a recent $11 million fraud suit that has drawn attention in Manhattan real estate circles.
Speeches were casually ignored, drinks were spilled and bonds were formed at last Thursday’s 116th annual Real Estate Board of New York Gala, which this year drew an estimated 2,000 brokers, owners, advertising buyers and real estate reporters to the New York Hilton for an evening of conviviality, honorifics and hushed deal making. Among the fray was Commercial Observer staff writer Daniel Geiger, who during the course of the evening saw his stenopad tossed by an irate real estate broker and who unabashedly accosted Studley’s Woody Heller in the hotel’s bathroom, all for the sake of the story. Below, a timeline of gala comings and goings, from the innocuous gossip down to the downright obnoxious.
Big Real Estate
Pace University has reached an agreement to move into 140 William Street, taking the entire 50,000 square foot building for its dance and visual arts programs, The Commercial Observer has learned.
The school will be relocating from its current space at 280 Broadway
, said David Falk
, president of Newmark Knight Frank
who represented Pace in the deal.
Last week, The Observer wrote a story about the hyper-exclusive co-op 740 Park.
As The Observer noted, the building is cash-only. Many people questioned if foreclosure was even possible, in fact, in a building that forbids residents from borrowing against their properties. We noted in the piece that Kent Swig, a one-time 740 Park resident, happens to co-own Brown Harris Stevens Residential Management, which manages the building. A source told us that Mr. Swig was allowed to take out a loan for the apartment because of this ownership stake. (Mr. Swig no longer lives there; the apartment is controlled by estranged wife Liz Macklowe.)
Brown Harris Stevens sent The Observer a letter after the story was published, denying any conflict of interest.
The landlord and developer, once flying so high with Lehman Brothers as his co-pilot, should weather his latest financial troubles just fine. He still owns a large stake in Terra Holdings, which controls two of the city’s swankier residential brokerages, Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property; and is a principal in Swig Equities (not to be confused with the Swig Company, which owns a lot of commercial property around the country, particularly in San Francisco).
Unless we’re missing something, Mr. Swig should handily avoid debtor’s prison.
But the perception remains that disaster stalks the amiable Mr. Swig (he fixed us coffee early one morning years ago even after we showed up for an interview on the wrong day). Why is this? To wit, from Buckethead in 2008 to 740 Park just yesterday, a timeline to explain the perception:
It’s looking rather post-Lehman at 25 Broad Street these days (even though the failed investment bank is still involved). The first 10 tenants have signed at the mammoth downtown residential tower of erstwhile Kent Swig fame.
Recall, Bruce Menin and his partners bought the 20-story office building for a dime in the late ’90s, before Read More
Life is stirring again at the ghostly Drake Hotel site.
With financing for development sites still virtually frozen, CIM Group has received a $30 million mortgage from Pacific Northwestern Bank on the former home of the Gilded Age hotel, according to public records.
As The Observer reported in February, the spot at Park Avenue and 57th Street is likely the only existing development Read More
SL Green’s Steven Durels lived up to his reputation as a tough dealmaker at the Real Estate Board of New York’s “Crossfire” panel last Wednesday.
“In 2012,” he asked pointedly, “will the market be up, down or sideways?”
Mr. Durels, who co-moderated the panel with Vortex Group’s Frederick Kane Marek, managed Read More