In the latest twist on “The Twists” — a stalled pair of Bjarke Ingels-designed luxury condo towers over the High Line Park — a foreclosure auction later this month might not come anywhere near resolving the complicated saga, sources told The Post.
The towers’ unfinished appearance has puzzled High Line strollers since construction came to a halt in late 2019. They’re officially named The XI after their Eleventh Avenue location between West 17th and 18th streets.
The lender on the quirkily-angled buildings, the Children’s Investment Fund, a UK hedge fund, scheduled a Oct. 28 auction date on the debt of embattled HFZ Capital Group developer Ziel Feldman’s $2 billion project.
They 26- and 36-story towers of reinforced concrete were to include 236 luxury condo apartments, the first Six Senses Hotel in the US, an extravagant spa and 90,000 square feet of high-end retail.
But despite the looming foreclosure auction– which is not a court action, but a public offering — sources said that the impenetrable tangle of claims involving The Xi might take much longer to resolve.
Companies that worked on the project are seething over the veil of intrigue. One subcontractor told The Post, “We have no idea when or if the project will proceed. Nobody will talk to us.”
Although the property might appeal to developers and investors in a rebounding condo market, “This situation is not for the faint of heart,” a financial source said.
“It has more moving parts than an octopus. It’s like a giant squid with a million tentacles of claims and complications.
“Resolving the debt has to come first before any construction can resume,” the source added.
A New York judge ruled in July that Feldman’s HFZ owes the British fund $136 million after Feldman failed to make monthly interest payments since April 2020. An HFZ spokesman said at the time it would appeal the ruling.
Meanwhile, a cavalcade of creditors led by construction manager Omnibuild have filed liens of hundreds of millions of dollars against Feldman for unpaid bills.
Omnibuild principal John Mingione told Crain’s in August that his firm took on the job despite warnings from within the industry to, “Watch their payments. Sometimes they’re slow.”
Payments to Omnibuild completely dried up in early 2020 even before the pandemic. Omnibuild quit work on The XI and filed a $100 million lien against HFZ in July 2020.
The XI broke ground in 2016. Construction was supposed to wrap up by the end of 2019.
Apartments marketed by Douglas Elliman were priced from $2.8 million to $25 million, but it was unclear how many contracts were signed before the project ground to a halt.
Today, the towers stand about two-thirds finished. HFZ shut down its sales gallery on Little West 12th Street in May.
HFZ recently lost control of four other Manhattan projects to a different lender that at The XI, Los Angeles-based CIM Group.
Feldman blamed former partner Nir Meir for HFZ’s problems, especially at The XI. As reported by the Real Deal, Feldman called Meir, who left the company last year, a “psychopath” in a lawsuit against him this past summer.
Meir’s lawyer termed Feldman’s charges “ludicrous.”
An HFZ rep referred The Post to Helene Feldman, who is Ziel Feldman’s wife and a co-principal of HFZ. She didn’t respond to email requests for comment. Neither did Ziel Feldman’s office.
The Children’s Investment Fund’s Sixth Avenue midtown office did not respond to phone calls. Calls to Cushman & Wakefield brokers Adam Spies and Douglas Harmon, who Crain’s reported were marketing the debt, weren’t returned, either.
Credit: Source link