By Adam Pincus
The condominium board of the former New York Times headquarters building at 229 West 43rd Street recorded a lien of common charges totaling $1.3 million against the Kushner Companies retail unit.
The lien is dated April 21 and recorded Monday. It claims charges as far back as May 2019 were not paid.
The publicly traded real estate investment trust, Columbia Property Trust, owns the office condo unit in the building and controls the condo board. Kushner owns the retail unit. The condo board is structured to have five members, with three members appointed by Columbia as the office condo owner and two by Kushner, as the retail unit owner, according to the bylaws. A vice president at Columbia was the signatory on the lien verification.
This lien is another sign of financial strain at the six floors of retail in the building, where tenants have backed out of their leases and one filed for bankruptcy last year. Debtwire and Bloomberg reported in November that the loan was heading for a workout. Crain’s, citing a Trepp analysis, reported that the holders of an $85 million mezzanine loan indicated they may start foreclosure proceedings, although none have been reported.
“The main tenants representing a big percentage of the rent roll defaulted on their lease obligations, which necessitates a workout,” a spokesperson from Kushner Companies said in a statement to Bloomberg last fall.
The building was divided into two commercial condo units in 2011 by developer Africa Israel. In July that year, Blackstone Group bought the 345,701-square-foot office portion for $160 million, and in 2015 sold it to Columbia Property Trust for $516 million.
In 2015, Africa Israel sold the 243,915-square-foot retail unit to Kushner for $295 million. In 2016, Kushner took out $285 million in debt from Deutsche Bank, which sold that into a commercial mortgage-backed security package.
The lien of common charges claims general common charges totaling $151,381 per month have not been paid for the months November through February for a total charge of $578,090; and utility and miscelaneous charges going back as far as May 2019 are listed as unpaid. The total from such charges is $592,393. There is also a capital projects charge of $175,164 that is unpaid.