Tag Archive | "Emil Talel"

Developers Sue Sag Harbor Village Again

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The developers who want to build condominiums on this waterfront property have sued Sag Harbor Village.

By Stephen J. Kotz

The relationship between two developers who want to build a condominium project on Sag Harbor’s waterfront, which seemed to be thawing in recent months, has plunged back into the deep freeze.

Michael Maidan and Emil Talel, the principals in East End Ventures, who have recently proposed a scaled back eight-unit condo project on their property at 1,3,5 Ferry Road, have reinstated a federal suit against the village.

The reason for the renewal of legal hostilities is twofold, they say. First, they are upset that Mayor Brian Gilbride hired a contractor to remove a derelict dock on the waterfront of their property and second, they claim that the village has been trying to confiscate their property, or at least delay their project, by claiming ownership of a portion that was a former Metropolitan Transit Authority right-of-way.

“We resolved the last lawsuit with the understanding that the village was going to allow us to proceed with our development,” said Sam Israel, the developers’ attorney. But since last summer, “the mayor started making noises about owning a piece of our property and he had someone come onto the property and destroy a dock.”

“To make a long story short, all we want to do is do the right thing in the village,” said Mr. Maidan on Tuesday. “We want to build you a park. If you want an easement to the water, no problem. We’ll give it to you.”

“We want to show them we are nice people. We don’t want anything that doesn’t belong to us,” he added. “We are trying to do a very nice project, a very scaled down project that meets zoning.”

Village attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr. said on Wednesday that the village was within its legal rights to remove the dock, which, he said, was in danger of collapse and could have posed a major liability issue to the village because it claims ownership of the underwater land there.

He added that although East End Ventures purchased a strip of land that was the former Route 114 from the MTA at auction several years ago, outbidding the village in the process, the village had since uncovered an easement the MTA gave it to the property, rendering that purchase moot.

He said the first step in untangling the legal mess was to determine the ownership of the Route 114 right-of-way.

“It’s not that big, but it is critical,” said Mr. Israel of the right-of-way. “Take it away and it craters the whole thing.”

Mr. Thiele acknowledged that East End Ventures had withdrawn their suit earlier, but he said they did so only after “98 percent of it was dismissed.”

East End Ventures purchased the property nestled between the 7-Eleven convenience store and the North Haven Bridge in 2005. The developers at first proposed to build 22 condo units on the site, but that plan engendered fierce resistance from the community.

The village later declared a moratorium while it updated its zoning code, and Mr. Maidan and Mr. Talel have claimed in court papers they had at first been assured they would be allowed to proceed with their project under existing zoning, only to be told later they would have to meet the new stricter limits. In the meantime, they claim the conversion of the old Bulova factory into the Watchase condominiums was moving along smoothly.

Last fall, East End Ventures presented a new plan calling for the construction of only eight condos to the village Planning Board as a discussion item. The board has yet to entertain a formal application.

West Water Street Developers File for Chapter 11 on the Defunct Condo Property

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It has been over three years since East End Development, LLC — the team of developers behind the now defunct condominium project at 21 West Water Street — have paid workers to complete any work at the 19-unit building.

It has sat, more than half way finished for years, a large box of tiles on one of the building’s balconies unmoved, slowly disintegrating to literal dust.

Last week, the future of that project was dealt another blow.

On October 12, East End Development, LLC filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in United States Eastern District Bankruptcy Court. Emil Talel is listed as the managing member of the LLC, with Michael Maiden and Terry Soderberg also listed as co-debtors in the filing.

According to a copy of the filing, East End Ventures debt associated with the 21 West Water Street property is estimated at $35,344,415.89. The filing states that East End Ventures assets include the half finished 21 West Water Street condominium building, which they value at $27,300,000.

The only other asset listed in East End Ventures documentation is $206.53 in a JP Morgan Chase Bank account.

The 1, 3 and 5 Ferry Road parcel, which the same developers unsuccessfully attempted to develop into condos under East End Ventures LLC — a case that resulted in a lawsuit between the firm and the Village of Sag Harbor — is not listed as one of the company’s assets as it was managed under its own limited liability corporation.

Twenty-six mechanics’ liens are listed against the 21 West Water Street property from creditors holding secured claims in the bankruptcy case totaling $34,653,840.52 with an additional $7,353,840.52 in unsecured claims made by the same companies.

The largest mechanic’s lien filed against the property is by the Longview Ultra Construction Loan Fund through Amalgamated Bank — East End Venture’s loan provider. They have filed a $30,484,011 lien on their own.

On Tuesday afternoon, a representative from Amalgamated Bank declined to comment on the Chapter 11 filing.

Several local companies have also been impacted by the project. Bridgehampton Steel & Welding has filed a $76,092 mechanic’s lien, Pristine Pool Construction Corp. has filed a $71,703 mechanic’s lien against the project, Southampton Brick & Tile has filed a $94,340 lien, Southampton-based Squire, Pierson & Sons, Inc. has a $94,239.47 lien and Water Mill Building Supply, Inc. has a lien of $213,949.

Unknown claims may be made from the Internal Revenue Service, the New York State Department of Finance and the New York City Department of Finance, according to the filing.

“Unsecured” and “non-priority claims” amount to $690,575.17, including $11,060 owed to local Sag Harbor attorney Dennis Downes — the attorney who helped secure approval for East End Development for the 21 West Water condominium project. An additional $20,076 is owed to Bridgehampton architect Kathryn Fee, $277,139.94 is owed to RLW4 Construction out of Southampton, and even the Village of Sag Harbor is owed $523.75.

As East End Ventures has filed for Chapter 11, not Chapter 7, it is attempting to reorganize its debt rather than liquidate, although under bankruptcy law Chapter 11 proceedings can move to Chapter 7 proceedings.

However, on Tuesday, Talel remained optimistic that despite the years long delay in getting the project off the ground that it would in fact move forward some time this winter, in part, because East End Development filed for Chapter 11.

“We will settle with everyone involved and negotiate to the best of our abilities,” said Talel. “This will allow us to go back to construction as quickly as possible. Nothing has changed and the project will be completed in an expeditious way.”

The 21 West Water Street condominium project was originally proposed in 2006 and was approved in 2008, with residents and village boards alike largely supporting the project, in large part because the condos would take the place of a nightclub and restaurant just on the edge of a residential district.

The project included 19 condos and a rooftop swimming pool.

While they were gaining its final approvals for 21 West Water Street, Talel and Maiden proposed a condo project at 1, 3, and 5 Ferry Road, under the East End Ventures corporation.

While failing to find support for a number of different versions of that project, in 2009 the village’s zoning code changed, drastically reducing the number of condominium units allowed on the Ferry Road parcel and requiring affordable housing be worked into the project.

In September of that year, Talel and East End Ventures filed a $30 million damages suit against the village as well as an Article 78 suit, claiming they were led to believe the project would be exempt from the new code, similar to the approved condominium project at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory.

While both suits would ultimately be dismissed in 2011, as of fall 2009 workers were already walking off the job at 21 West Water Street for non-payment and by July of 2010 there were over $3 million in liens recorded with the Suffolk County Clerk’s office against the property.

According to the Chapter 11 filing completed earlier this month, Amalgamated Bank has already begun foreclosure proceedings against East End Development, which is still in court.

For Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, after three and a half years of watching the 21 West Water Street building fall further and further into decline, he said he was not optimistic about the project’s future. But at the end of the day he hopes someone resurrects the project to protect that section of the village from further blight.

“There is not a day I walk into Schiavoni’s that someone doesn’t ask me about this,” said Gilbride.

Developer Says West Water Street Condos Back on Track

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East End Ventures has renewed its building permit for a long dormant condominium project on West Water Street through the Village of Sag Harbor, and according to one of the principals is getting ready to pay off millions of dollars in liens on the property filed by subcontractors over a year ago.

For Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride, no greater gift could be given than avoiding the questions from village residents about the defunct project when he goes to Schiavoni’s Market on Main Street for his coffee each morning.

However, Gilbride said on Monday night that while he hopes East End Ventures is ultimately successful in its bid to finish the luxury condominium project, until he sees actual work being completed on site, after two-and-a-half years of stasis he remains a skeptic.

Over a week ago, East End Ventures re-purchased its building permit for the 21 West Water Street condominium project, a 19-unit development with rooftop pool that already has secured approvals from the Village of Sag Harbor as well as the Suffolk County Health Department.

On Monday evening, East End Ventures principal Emil Talel said that his firm was still in negotiations with Amalgamated Bank — its long-term financer — to reopen its loan and get construction crews back on the property. Talel said he was meeting with Amalgamated Bank next week and hopes that construction would begin before the end of December.

In order to get construction started on the property, one of the first things the newest financing deal will have to contend with is the millions of dollars in liens that have been filed against the project by contractors and subcontractors who have already performed work on the property.

As of July 2010, over $3 million in liens were recorded with the Suffolk County Clerk’s office on the 21 West Water Street property by as many as 30 individuals. At the time, East End Ventures was still in negotiations to renew financing with Amalgamated Bank.

Included in those liens was a claim for $843,072 for materials and labor related to carpentry from the Mount Sinai-based JPR2 Inc. Inter-County Mechanical Corp. also has a $510,241 lien against the property, All Systems Maintenance Inc. has filed a $247,794 lien for plumbing related materials, Southampton Brick & Tile has a $94,340 lien and B&G Electrical Contractors of NY Inc. has filed a $630,274 lien against the property.

On Monday, Talel said the liens would be the first thing paid off once a deal is reached with Amalgamated Bank, or another lender. While the firm is in “good faith negotiations” with Amalgamated Bank, Talel said he has discussed with his partners the possibility of including a new lender.

Rumors have swirled throughout the Village of Sag Harbor that a new partner is getting ready to join the project, although Talel offered no specifics on any individual about to join the development team.

He did add that “the fastest way to finish this development is to do so with the existing lender.”

Developer: Let’s Deal, Village Wants MTA Property

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By Kathryn G. Menu

The Village of Sag Harbor will likely use eminent domain in an attempt to acquire a 16,405 square-foot waterfront parcel sandwiched between village-owned beachfront next to Route 114 and property owned by condominium developer Emil Talel, according to Mayor Brian Gilbride.

On Tuesday, Talel confirmed that his company has formally taken title to the property, which was owned by the Long Island Railroad. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced last year that it would sell the property, and both Talel’s company and the Village of Sag Harbor placed bids on the land.

Talel owns an adjacent property and he has long sought to develop condominiums there. Known as the Ferry Road condominiums, several versions of that project were under review by the Village of Sag Harbor when the village’s code changed, drastically reducing the number of condominium units allowed on the parcel.

As a result, Talel’s firm, East End Ventures, filed two lawsuits against the village, including a $30 million civil action that claimed the developers were led to believe they would be exempt from the new code. While a majority of that claim has been dismissed, one aspect of it — the project’s similarities with the approved condominium project at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory, which was given exemption from the village code, is still being heard.

Talel, who hoped to use the LIRR property to meet setbacks on his now defunct project, bid $201,000 to gain ownership of the property. The village, which Mayor Gilbride said hoped to use the land along with adjacent village-owned waterfront to create a public park, bid $90,101, and despite the public benefit of parkland was not awarded the property.

On Tuesday, Talel said he had hoped that now that his firm owns the property they would be able to strike a deal with the village where his company would offer full easement for public access to the land, as well as put a hold on both pending lawsuits, while negotiations could begin with the village towards a project that would make “economic sense” for East End Ventures to proceed with.

However, on Wednesday, Gilbride said he was reaching out to village attorneys to look into commencing eminent domain proceedings to take ownership of the property.

Eminent domain is an action municipalities can use to seize private property to be used for public or civic use, or for the creation of infrastructure like public utilities, highways or railroads.

Mayor Gilbride said the village has long sought the property for the creation of a public park, which would increase public access to the waterfront — a tenet of the village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP).

On Wednesday, Talel criticized the village, noting he has tried on several occasions to meet with village officials in an effort to move past litigation and towards a project both sides can be happy with. He also questioned why the village would expend what he said would be “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to continue this battle when his firm has already offered to create a public park in conjunction with their condominium project.

“I cannot speak to that yet,” said Gilbride, citing ongoing litigation.

Developers Hope Work at 21 West Water Street Condos Will Resume Soon

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By Kathryn G. Menu

After three months of not receiving a paycheck for his work as the general contractor of the luxury condominium project at 21 West Water Street in Sag Harbor, Roy Wines IV, the president of Southampton-based RLW4 Construction, was left with no other choice but to walk off the job last October.

Wines returned over the course of the winter, to ensure the building was safe from damaging winter weather and precipitation, but it was a brief return as the bank originally on board to fund the condominium project, Amalgamated Bank, stopped financing the project over a year ago. That left a number of sub-contractors, suppliers and even Wines himself not only without a paycheck for labor, but still holding onto bills for materials bought for the multi-million project.

Despite mounting liens filed with the Suffolk County clerk against the project — over $3 million — this week, condo developers East End Ventures principal Emil Talel said negotiations with Amalgamated Bank were becoming more productive and that he expects a new loan agreement to be worked out before summer’s end.

“Negotiations are moving ahead to restructure the financing for the 21 West Water condominium project in Sag Harbor,” said Bob Rinklin, external representative for Amalgamated Bank’s Institutional Asset Management & Custody Division in response to requests for comment. “We expect that when the agreement between the ULTRA Fund and the borrower is in place, the project will be completed as planned.

According to Talel, the reasons Amalgamated Bank originally stopped funding the project last summer stem from a combination of the faltering economy and housing market and a rotating change in management at the bank.

“We are now dealing with a team who is productive and they have every intention to restart the project,” said Talel. “We have to make some changes to our agreement and we hope we will be able to re-start in the second half of August and after that, I would say we are about 60 days from being completed.”

Talel added paying off the liens against the project will be a top priority once funding is restored, coupled with efforts to finish the condo project in order to begin negotiating sales of the 19-units on the waterfront property.

When completed, the condominiums will offer residents luxury amenities including a rooftop pool and sauna, which Wines said is completed and ready to be installed, as well as five-star concierge services. According to Prudential Douglas Elliman’s listings for the units, they range in price from $1,695,000 to $3,050,000, and range in size from 1,507 square-feet to 1,974 square-feet.

According to Robert Evjen, the principal broker for the condos, while interest has been high, buyers in this market want to see the project completed before signing a contract for one of the units.

“We continue to get interested buyers — we have a long list, but they want a turnkey building,” he said. “We are almost there.”

Talel said he understands why approximately 20 to 30 liens have been filed against the project since October of last year, citing it as a standard practice when a project is stalled while waiting for a new loan agreement.

Contractors have a right to file liens for any unpaid services and materials during the course of any construction, which would give them the right to pursue those monies should the property be sold before they are compensated.

One of the highest liens against the property is for $843,072 for materials and labor related to carpentry from the Mount Sinai-based JPR2 Inc. Inter-County Mechanical Corp. also has a $510,241 lien against the property, All Systems Maintenance Inc. has filed a $247,794 lien for plumbing related materials, Southampton Brick & Tile has a $94,340 lien and B&G Electrical Contractors of NY Inc. has filed a $630,274 lien against the condos, to name a few of the larger claims that have been levied against the project.

B&G Electric has gone as far as to file suit with the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Suffolk County seeking the monies they are owed, as has A&F Fire Protection Co. Inc., which has a $25,000 lien against the property for engineering, drafting and professional services.

“When banks stop funding, contractors get nervous and have to protect themselves,” said Talel this week. “We are not upset with them and have good working relationships. The plan is to pay the liens off and get our building, which is 85 to 90 percent complete, completed.”

Wines agreed the project was very close to completion, noting some of the units need to be trimmed, the pool needs to be installed, landscaping needs to be planted and other cosmetic work to the building.

“We are that close,” he said.

Wines has not filed a lien against the project, noting if he did, he would need to incorporate labor costs and materials from sub-contractors he hired for the project, but is hopeful it will not come to that.

He also added that the liens recorded with the county are an overstatement of what is actually owed, with monies owed to some material suppliers accounted for in two separate liens — one they filed themselves, and one filed by the contractor they gave the materials to.

“I expect to see us back to work very soon,” he said. “I am hopeful in the next 30 to 45 days we will see the trades are able to get back to work.”