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

Carter's View

PB Capital, the American subsidiary of Deutsche Postbank, was granted a receiver last month to oversee Sorrento New York, a stalled residential condominium and extended-stay hotel at 306 West 48th Street that is the subject of an $84 million foreclosure suit, according to an article today by David Jones at

One of the most dramatic "sliver" buildings in the city, this striking, 40-story, mid-block residential condominium tower was designed by Ismael Leyva Architects P.C. for Esplanade Capital LLC of which David Sharf is a principal.

A distinctive feature of the 110-unit building is that it has staggered balconies facing the avenue.

It is also notable for its rakishly angled roofline.

The very slim, tower, glass-clad on three sides, has balconies on its east and west facades and its north facade is mostly blank with horizontal lines denoting floor levels.

According to its website, "the angular nature of the site is exacerbated in the triangular shapes of the penthouses," adding that "The volumetric composition is complemented by the addition of cascading balconies with glass railings."

According to the complaint, filed in September in New York State Supreme Court, the article continued, "the developers operated through a firm called Navillus Contracting, in Long Island City, Queens. The complaint says that the developers had a deal to sell the residential units in bulk to an Irish firm called Fuerta Property, a unit of Sorrento Asset Management, for about $17.8 million, which would then resell the units, leaving BridgeStreet to operate the extended stay hotel portion. The complaint states that Fuerta backed out of the deal to buy the residential apartments, claiming the developers failed to close their first unit by July 21, 2009. By August 2009, the $84 million came due from the developer, and PB Capital called in a default."

"Dozens of units," it added, "had been sold to Irish investors for only $1,000 down for each unit, according to the complaint. shows that a portfolio of 45 units in the building was listed in August 2009 for $61 million by Brown Harris Stevens."

By last month, the article said, "a state Supreme Court judge named Yonkers-based attorney Gerald Kahn, of Smith, Buss and Jacobs, as the new receiver. Kahn was ordered to maintain the building and keep the lights on, but he was not allowed to sell or rent out any units."

"Investors Donald and Kevin O'Sullivan were named as the guarantors of $84 million in loans for the newly constructed project, which was scheduled to include extended-stay housing under the BridgeStreet Worldwide hotel brand. They were not immediately available for comment," according to the article.

In 2010, an application filed with the Department of Buildings indicated that a space on the "42nd floor" that had been previously set to have two apartments was redesignated to become an "accessory lounge" for an "apartment hotel."

One commenter at calculated that "at its narrowest width" the building has a height-to-width ratio of 33.98.

The ground floor has commercial space that extends to an outdoor garden in the rear and the residential entry has a skylight and a waterfall.

There is a fitness center, lounge space and bicycle storage.

Apartments on the second and seventh floors have outdoor terraces and apartments on the eighth through the 40th floor have balconies.

The roof has outdoor terraces with hot tubs.

A poster, "krulltime," on likened the design to an unbuilt design by Jean Nouvel for a very tall, slim tower along the High Line in Chelsea. Another poster, "Fabrizio," likened the balcony edge to "the chain-saw aesthetic."

City documents indicated that Esplanade Condominiums LLC had arranged financing with Morgan Stanley Mortgage Capital Inc.
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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.
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