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HFZ Loses Control Of Upper West Side Condo Conversion Project

The Belnord

HFZ Capital Group’s pandemic problems have continued to mount.

Westbrook Partners, the developer’s partner on an Upper West Side condominium conversion at 225 West 86th St., took control of the project sometime between September and this week, The Real Deal reports

Plans for the building include 95 new units, New York YIMBY reported in 2018, when development first began. The designer for the project was Robert A.M. Stern Architects. HFZ bought the building for $575M in 2015, and it later brought in Westbrook as a partner. 

“HFZ has no active role or involvement in the management or operation of the Belnord and also has no decision-making authority with respect to the project,” a Westbrook Partners spokesperson told TRD.

Westbrook Partners and HFZ didn't respond to Bisnow’s requests for comment.

This is the latest in a series of financial and legal problems for HFZ this month alone. The company was sued the first week of the year by its lender, Children’s Investment Fund, for allegedly failing to pay $160M of its loan payments on The IX, the company’s billion-dollar condominium project near the High Line in Chelsea. Suffolk Construction and Zeckendorf Development are eyeing a takeover of the project, Crain’s New York Business reported earlier this month. 

HFZ founder and CEO Ziel Feldman was sued by his lender, W Financial REIT, earlier this month for reportedly failing to make payments on a loan for some of the development firm’s Upper East Side properties, TRD reported

One of the company’s former executives, John Simonlacaj, pleaded guilty to submitting a false tax return in a case that tied him to the Gambino crime family, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Jan. 15. Simonlacaj allegedly accepted free work on his home by a mob-related contracting company while the company billed HFZ for it.