Douglas Durst’s company has made a big move in central Harlem, purchasing a key development site for $90,955,570 from Ian Bruce Eichner.
The deal, which just closed, gives Durst title to the southwest corner at Park Avenue and East 125th Street.
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With a major real estate company that has an extensive track record in control, the long-derelict site — right next to the elevated Metro-North line — can finally be tapped for its full potential.
The empty lot stands at a crucial crossroads. While 125th Street west of Fifth Avenue has seen much new investment and development, the blocks east of Fifth lag behind.
Several other companies, including Vornado, shelved ambitious plans for the corner before Eichner’s Continuum took over a few years ago.
Eichner had planned a large, mostly residential project but couldn’t obtain construction financing, while Vornado abandoned the “Harlem Park” office development.
Eichner wanted to build nearly 700 apartments with some commercial and community space, and he had architects come up with a design.Seeing an opportunity, Durst purchased $100 million in distressed debt on the property earlier this year.
But Durst intends to create an entirely new plan. “We are starting from scratch,” Durst spokesman Jordan Barowitz said.
Durst recently told our source he would “study options” and that “any development we do in Harlem will include a significant amount of affordable housing.”