RFR hit with $434K lien on retail unit at 160 Fifth Avenue in Flatiron

By Adam Pincus

Aby Rosen’s RFR Holding is behind by $434,627 in condominium common charges on its retail unit at 160 Fifth Avenue in Flatiron, a filing from the building’s condo board alleges.

This is not the first lien of common charges filed against a major New York City landlord. Last month, PincusCo reported that a $1.3 million lien had been placed on Kushner Companies’ retail unit at 229 West 43rd Street, the old New York Times building west of Times Square. There are also similar filings accusing condo owners of not paying common charges, but those are sometimes payment disputes and don’t reflect an inability to pay.

RFR did not respond to requests for comment.

RFR purchased the 107,000-square-foot building just south of Madison Square Park in 2005 in two transactions that totaled $68.5 million, and took on $43 million in debt. At the time, Club Monaco was the main tenant for the retail space.

In 2009, RFR landed Simons Foundation as tenant for much of the building. In 2018, the building was converted into a commercial condominium.

In December 2018, the Simons Foundation purchased the office portion of the building for $180 million, and now controls the condo board.

The filings come as the value of retail assets have been hard hit by shifts to online shopping and more recently by the coronavirus pandemic.

The failure to make payments extends back to December 2018, according to the filing.

While it may be that RFR is withholding payments for financial reasons, there are other reasons a unit owner would be behind in payemnts, including because of disputes over how much common charges to pay, which are not about liquidity but about allocation of expenses in the building as they related to taxes, common charges, or renovation work.

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