February 25, 2009 5:09 PM Condo co-developer files for bankruptcy
Uptown Partners, which filed for bankruptcy protection this week, insists the setback is not tied to its new 28-story Fifth on Park condominium facing Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park.
Photo by Courtesy of 5thonthepark.com
Uptown Partners, a co-developer in one of Harlem’s tallest luxury condominiums, has filed for bankruptcy protection.
The company originated and remains a minority shareholder in Fifth on the Park, the new 28-story condominium that faces Marcus Garvey Park. It co-developed what it claims to be Harlem’s first market-rate condominium, The Lenox, which is between West 129th and West 130th streets on Lenox Avenue.
Lewis Futterman, co-founder of Uptown Partners, insisted that the company’s Chapter 11 filing had nothing to do with its newest property, which was just topped out one year ago.
“We had another debt due with severe consequences that we could not complete negotiation in time,” he said. “Fifth on the Park is quite healthy.”
In fact, sales contracts have been signed for 98 of the 160 units in that building, according to Mr. Futterman. He expects the first closing to take place in mid-April. The new development, which is located on Madison Avenue between East 119th and 120th streets, includes a 38,000-square-foot church for the Bethel Gospel Assembly, the previous owner of the land, and a 1,800-seat church sanctuary.
“It was a ghost town for the last four months of last year,” Mr. Futterman said. “But we had quite a few people in since then and expect things to pick up in March and April.”
Despite the deteriorating market, sales of condos and co-ops below $500,000 are holding up in Harlem, known for its bargain prices. According to real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel, 129 condo and co-op sales were completed in the fourth quarter, compared to 110 in the final quarter of 2007.
Phoenix Realty Group, a real estate fund manager specializing in urban and workforce housing developments is the primary equity investor in the project. Joseph Holland, a Harlem developer and former New York state housing commissioner, has a minority stake in the project. Artimus Construction is the development’s general contractor and Manhattan-based FXFOWLE Architects is the architect.
According to the bankruptcy filing, Uptown Partners has a monthly operating expense of roughly $112,000 and owes about $1.1 million to its three largest unsecured creditors: Jay Furman, Capital One Bank and Commerce Bank.
Uptown Partners filed for bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York, and Mr. Futterman said he expects the company to withdraw the filing in a week because it is close to settling the undisclosed debt.
Copyright 2009 Crain Communications, Inc.