Moinian Mayhem: 3 Columbus Circle Showdown Only First of Many

Joe Moinian, the blockbuster developer who bought up millions of square feet for billions of dollars during the boom, is set for a court date later today with rival developer Steve Ross, head of the Related Companies, over Moinian’s redevelopment of 1775 Broadway.

Moinian began redeveloping the art deco office building two years ago, rebranding it 3 Columbus Circle and slapping over its brick facade a glass one that many find ugly. Ross is rumored to be among them–his crown jewel, the Time Warner Center, is located next door–though it is unclear how much of that actually has to do with his buying up a $250 million loan on the project. Related is attempting to foreclose on the property and has expressed interest in tearing it down and 1775 broadway
replacing the building with a Nordstroms.

The dispute is bound for court today, to determine how much is owed–$250 million or $310 million–and thus whether or not Moinian will be able to afford to pay Related back. Assuming his company can, SL Green has offered equity to help do so in exchange for a stake in the building.

While this may be the greatest of Moinian’s worries, it is far from the only one. As The Journal notes, lenders have taken “aggressive action” against Moinian at another property, 72 Madison. They want to foreclose on the 12-story office building, for which Moinian took out a $22 million loan. The developer recently made a late payment of $1.4 million, but he failed to pay a $220,000 fee on top of that, which the lenders are using as reason to foreclose. The developer’s attorneys call the foreclosure “economic extortion.”

The Journal goes on to mention the continuing troubles at the W Hotel Downtown and the Renaissance, both in the Financial District, both in default. Yet the paper also notes that Moinian has successfully renegotiated for three other properties in the neighborhood.

Moinian cannot hold on to everything, though, as he has already been forced to sell off a few pieces of his empire. It remains to be seen how much more will slip through his fingers.

mchaban [at] | @mc_nyo Moinian Mayhem: 3  Columbus Circle Showdown Only First of Many