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Midtown Rental Heads for Foreclosure

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Salim Assa at 15 West 55th Street (Getty, Google Maps)

Updated: Jan 24, 2023 at 5:12 PM
A Midtown rental building with a checkered past is on the brink of foreclosure.

Late last week, Wells Fargo filed a foreclosure on 15 West 55th Street, a 10-story building just south of the Plaza, resulting in several failures by the mortgagee and at least $84 million in payments. claimed to be late.

Solly Assa, as well as FTRE Real Estate co-defendants Steven and Marilyn Finkelstein, are listed as defendants in the lawsuit, which Wells Fargo claims they signed personal repayment guarantees on debt. There is

The lawsuit stems from a $73 million loan received from Barclay’s in 2015. Shortly after issuing the debt, Barclay’s sold the bonds to a commercial mortgage securities trust. However, the building soon ran into trouble.

In 2018 Assa agreed to: $1.2 million settlement The city has filed a complaint over claims that apartments in the building were being rented as short-term Airbnbs.

At the same time, Assa was in court with suit maker Domenico Vacca, a tenant on the building’s first floor. Assa accused the company of not paying his $4 million in rent, and Vacca led him to leave the building in 2019. Wells Fargo now claims that the broken lease constitutes a mortgage default. Lender’s written consent.

According to Wells Fargo, the loan was amended in January 2021 after its alleged default. The new contract identified five different defaults that occurred under the old mortgage, including failure to make monthly debt payments in the months after the pandemic spread to New York.

As part of the amended loan agreement, the owner agreed to make monthly interest payments, but failed to pay the full amount that August. The loan was brought forward and the creditor’s trustee, Wells Fargo, declared he would pay the full amount in November, the lawsuit alleges.

Now, in addition to defaults already acknowledged by both parties in the amended loan agreement, Wells Fargo alleges further breaches occurred. In 2019, the building signed a deal with online leasing company REZI, which is said to have given the service the right to lease nearly half of the building’s 31 apartments. claiming that this is another violation of the mortgage terms.

Additionally, under the mortgage agreement, the building was to deposit all gross income from building operations into a Lockbox account. Wells Fargo alleges that REZI did not deposit the collected rent into its accounts.

If the banks get their way, bondholders will inherit buildings that have greatly depreciated in value. In 2015, Trep put his 15 West No. 55 valued at his $119 million. In 2021, dropped nearly 70% to $37.8 million.

Wells Fargo claims that Assa and Finkelstein each owed up to $11 million. claims. This includes $73 million in outstanding principal, $7 million in interest, and nearly $4 million in fees.

Assa’s lawyer said real That Assa is the building’s consulting fee manager, not the owner.

“The Assa’s had ownership until a few years ago, but now they only have control,” the attorney wrote. “Neither Mr. Assa nor his family own 15 West 55th Street.”

This article has been updated to deny that Assa currently owns the property.

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