HFZ's High Line Lender Asks Judge To Award It $160M In Unpaid Loan Payments
Money troubles continue to mount for one of Manhattan's most prominent condo developers, this time at its signature development.
HFZ Capital Group has been taken to court by its lender this week for failing to make payments on a loan for its 218-unit Chelsea condominium and hotel development, The XI, located near the High Line.
Children’s Investment Fund filed a motion requesting a summary judgment of $160M on two mezzanine loans that it claims have gone unpaid by the Ziel Feldman-led development company between June and November 2020, The Real Deal first reported.
The lender, a U.K. hedge fund helmed by Christopher Hohn, provided a $1.2B construction loan on the property in 2016. The two-tower project is also set to include a 137-room Six Senses hotel, which was named one of 2021's most anticipated hotel openings in the world by Vogue last month. It is located at 518 West 18th St. and designed by Bjarke Ingels.
HFZ didn't respond to Bisnow's request for comment.
The foreclosure is one of the latest events in a series of financial and legal woes for the development group. The company plans to lay off 31 employees by Jan. 29, according to a notification filed with the state Department of Labor on Dec. 30.
In September, HFZ defaulted on four mezzanine loans, prompting the scheduling of foreclosure auctions on 88 and 90 Lexington Ave., The Astor at 235 West 75th St. and 301 West 53rd St. Last month, a New York Supreme Court judge ruled in favor of HFZ and paused the sales for the time being.
Last month, Prestige Capital Finance filed a lawsuit against HFZ, along with Omnibuild Construction, for $82M, claiming the team owed them for work they helped to fund.
HFZ was embroiled in a legal scandal last year when federal prosecutors said one of its executives, former Managing Director John Simonlacaj, allegedly inflated invoices for construction work done for the company by CWC Contracting, which the prosecution claimed was tied to the Gambino crime family.
Even as HFZ's investments in New York City's troubled luxury condominium market falter, it has been forced to hand over its stake in a national industrial portfolio, despite that asset class having success during the coronavirus pandemic.