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Development Veteran Stalled Uptown Durst Group Buys Notes, Forecloses

From left Ian Bruce Eichner and a rendering of 1800 Park Avenue in Harlem (credit ODA)

Commercial property developer Ian Bruce Eichner, along with his company Continuum, stands poised to take a 66 million dollar loss on a site in Harlem that he bought three years ago.

He had planned to build a 680-unit rental complex but the funding he aspired to did not materialize. In the meantime, his notes have come due. The original lender, Garrison Investment Group sold the debt to the real estate behemoth Durst Organization. Now Durst is going to foreclose. One wouldn’t know it from Midtown, but as a whole, the city’s real estate growth is aching. Both for commercial and the traditionally endless-demand high-end condos, the industry has slowed, or, as the less optimistic say, “reversed course.”

This, of course, has started what could be a formidable cycle of lending institutions getting shy about making loans in an ebbing market, which, needless to say, makes nobody too happy until a real halt to construction sends prices skyward once again.

Eichner has a huge portfolio of impressive New York accomplishments that includes City Spire, One Broadway Place, The Manhattan Club, The Royale and Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. He also made some serious architectural impact on Florida and Las Vegas, but here in New York, he has some accomplishments under his belt that were real firsts. In 1998, on Montague Street, Eichner built the first high-rise in Brooklyn since the 60s had brought with it landmarks height legislation. Before that, with “The Manhattan Club, ” Eichner innovated the first urban timeshare in New York, incorporating the revolutionary ahead-of-its-time model of booking stays as brief as a single day.

But taking risks also includes failures. Eichner has been successful at many of his ventures, but 1800 Park isn’t the first time creditors rushed in and took a building from underneath him. There were losses and foreclosures in the 90s and again in the past decade. According to an interview he gave, he can’t judge himself by successes or failures, only by knowing he made his best effort.

This story first published at The Jewish Voice NY, by Alan E. Oirich




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