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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Carter's View

IStar Financial Inc., the chief financier of the One Madison Park condominium tower in New York City, will battle a bid by developer Ian Bruce Eichner to revive the project in bankruptcy court, according to an article in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal by Peg Brickley.

A reorganization plan sponsored by Mr. Eichner would mean "an enormous return" on Mr. Eichner's proposed $40 million investment at the expense of secured lender iStar, according to recent court filings by iStar, the article said.

The high-profile condominium project, a 50-story tower that is unfinished and has been in limbo since February, was developed by Ira Shapiro and Marc Jacobs. Mr. Shapiro, who now is working with Mr. Eichner, proposed the reorganization plan that would give Mr. Eichner control, the article said, adding that "a court hearing Thursday will deal with the future of One Madison Park" and that "Messrs. Eichner and Shapiro and attorneys for One Madison Park, which is operated by FKF Madison Park Group Owner LLC, couldn't be reached for comment."

Under the plan, the article continued, "the project would emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings with Mr. Eichner in charge while iStar would see its $233.5 million mortgage slashed nearly in half."

A hearing on the case is scheduled Thursday. Papers filed in advance by iStar challenge the reorganization plan as well as Mr. Eichner's right to be involved with One Madison Park at all.

IStar is also claiming that Mr. Shapiro had no authority to agree to a bankruptcy rehabilitation plan with Mr. Eichner and that Mr. Shapiro had "acted improperly" and without proper corporate authority, echoing arguments, the article said, "made by two investment funds in a lawsuit filed earlier this month."

"The investment funds based in Monaco - Green Bridge Capital SA and Special Situation SA - claimed in court papers to hold a majority stake in One Madison Park. Mr. Shapiro's actions, including negotiating bankruptcy financing, are 'at best a misrepresentation, and at worse, a fraud on the court and on creditors,' lawyers for the investors said in papers filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.," the article continued.

Mr. Eichner became a major New York developer in the late 1980s but ran into problems during the commercial real-estate collapse of the early 1990s, the article said, adding that he "bounced back during the late 1990s. He launched a mega-development on the Las Vegas Strip called the Cosmopolitan Resort Casino. But that project was clobbered by the economic downturn and credit crunch forcing its lender, Deutsche Bank, to take control."

"Mr. Eichner's takeover attempt is the latest development in a saga that began in February," the article said, "when iStar initiated foreclosure proceedings on One Madison Park. Company filings say 57 of the 69 residential units in the building remain unsold. By May, the lender had persuaded a state judge to put the property into the hands of a receiver. In June, contractors and other unpaid creditors turned to bankruptcy court and attempted to push One Madison Park into an involuntary Chapter 7 proceeding. The property ended up in Chapter 11 in November. Ultimately, the contractors and unpaid creditors came to terms with Mr. Shapiro, who agreed to let the case go forward as a reorganization, with Mr. Eichner as the investor who would finish the development."

An article about the project today at nycurbed.com described the very slim tower, which was designed by Cetra/Ruddy at the base of Madison Avenue overlooking Madison Square Park as the "Shake Shack shadowing monolith."
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
Luxury Homes in Midtown | Newly Renovated Studio-2BR Homes View Property
Spacious 1 Bedrooms with outdoor space and in-residence w/d View Property
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