$23.5M pre-foreclosure on Harlem portfolio purchased in 2016

536-538 West 159th Street (Credit - Google)

536-538 West 159th Street (Credit - Google)

In December 2016 Moshe Silber’s Rhodium Capital Advisors in a joint venture with the Toronto-based Firm Capital, purchased a 127-unit portfolio of Harlem rental buildings for about $36.995 million.

The loans totaling $23.5 million secured by that portfolio are in default, according to a trustee for bondholders in seven pre-foreclosure actions filed yesterday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. The loans were originated by Arbor Realty Trust and assigned to Freddie Mac, which then securitized them. The two bond groups are Series 2017-SB27 and Series 2017-SB34.

The buildings are 536-538 West 159th Street, 220-222 West 149th Street, 530 West 159th Street, 534 West 159th Street, 2546-2548 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, 532 West 159th Street and 528 West 159th Street.

The Real Deal and others in December 2016 reported on the sale.

The property

The walkup building with 10 residential units in Washington Heights has 9,685 square feet of built space according to a PincusCo analysis of city data. The parcel has frontage of 25 feet and is 99 feet deep with a total lot size of 2,497 square feet. The zoning is R7-2 which allows for up to 3.44 times floor area ratio (FAR) for residential. The city-designated market value for the property in 2022 is $1.4 million.

Prior sales and revenue

This property was sold with another property for $5.4 million on December 21, 2016.

The 9,685-square-foot property generated revenue of $175,492 or $18 per square foot, according to the most recent income and expense figures.


Over the past five years, there has been no NYC Department of Buildings new building, demolition, or alteration permit application valued at more than $20,000 filed for this parcel.

Violations and lawsuits

According to city public data, the property has received two housing violations and $125 in OATH penalties in the last year.

There were no lawsuits or bankruptcies filed against the property for the past 24 months.

The neighborhood

In Washington Heights, The bulk, or 45 percent of the 65.9 million square feet of commercial built space are elevator buildings, with walkup buildings next occupying 27 percent of the space. In sales, Washington Heights has near average sales volume among other neighborhoods with $596.5 million in sales volume in the last two years and is the 24th highest in Manhattan. For development, Washington Heights has near average amount of major developments among other neighborhoods and is the 20th highest in Manhattan. It had 1.3 million square feet of commercial and multi-family construction under development in the last two years, which represents 2 percent of the neighborhood’s built space.

The block

On this tax block, PincusCo has identified the owners of 19 of the 30 commercial properties representing 296,158 square feet of the 442,983 square feet. The largest owner is Community League Of The Heights, followed by David Hakakian and then David Israeli. On the tax block, there was one new building construction project filed totaling 11,859 square feet. It is a 14-unit, 11,859 square-foot residential (R-2) building submitted by Steven Schnall with plans filed April 23, 2015 and it has not been permitted yet.

The owner

The PincusCo database currently indicates that Rhodium Capital Advisors owned at least eight commercial properties with 113 residential units in New York City with 87,572 square feet and a city-determined market value of $12.1 million. (Market value is typically about 50% of actual value.) Within the portfolio, all identified are walkup properties. They are all located in Manhattan.

The owners according to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development includes Sandy Poklar, head officer and Juda Stern, agent. The business entity is Rh 536-538 West 159 Street Llc.

The surrounding

Within a 400-foot radius of 536 West 159 Street, PincusCo identified two commercial real estate items of interests occurred over the past 24 months. Of those two items, two were loans above $5 million totaling $16.9 million. The most recent of the two was Eliezer M. Sternhell and Peter Vanderpool in which borrowed $10 million from LMF Commercial secured by the 44,590-square-foot, 40-unit rental (D7) on 3820 Broadway on March 7, 2022.

Direct link to the property’s ACRIS page and link to DOB NOW portal.

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