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Donovan LLP Represents Congregation Habonim in Sale and Development of 44 West 66th Street

Originally Published in The Real Deal

Written by Adam Pincus


Extell Development plans to build a large condominium tower in partnership with Megalith Capital Management a half a block from Central Park West on land each firm will contribute to the project, recent court records show.

For its part, Extell is paying Congregation Habonim $45 million for a synagogue located at 44 West 66th Street, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. It will combine that with Megalith’s three-building package next door at 36-40 West 66th Street, to create a 15,000 square foot footprint for the condo tower.

The Real Deal reported last month that Extell was in contract to buy the synagogue but at the time the price was not disclosed. Megalith, led by CEO Samvir Sidhu, purchased its parcels for $85 million in March.

The complex condo tower deal involves creating a new home for the synagogue as a condo unit, an unidentified number of residential condos, and a garage unit.

The synagogue has owned the parcel since 1949. Habonim’s portion in the condo tower is valued at $30 million, yielding a total value to the synagogue of $75 million.

The new details were revealed in a court filing Tuesday as part of The Required New York State Attorney General And State Supreme Court approvals that are needed when a nonprofit such as the synagogue sells a large portion of its assets. The court approval is pending.

The final size of the project is not known, and could vary in size dramatically. The base development rights for the Extell and Megalith sites allow for a tower encompassing roughly 150,000 square feet to 180,000 square feet, depending on whether the developer uses inculsionary zoning bonuses available in the Special Lincoln Square District, where the property is located, an analysis of the site found.

But a much larger tower, of perhaps 400,000 square feet might be possible if Extell acquires the neighboring parcel at 15 West 65th Street, which is owned by the nonprofit Jewish Guild Healthcare, one land use attorney, who asked not to be identified, estimated. But others familiar with the site said it could never be anywhere close to that size. The court filings say Extell is considering the acquisition of the Guild parcel, but does not provide additional details.

Insiders said if Extell merged zoning lots with that, then purchased air rights from a landmarked building owned by the Walt Disney Co. to the west at 52 West 66th Street, the much larger tower might be possible.

Extell and Megalith did not respond to a request for comment.

The complex sale of the Habonim parcel to Extell was handled by an investment sales team from Savills Studley, David Carlos and Ira Schuman. The sale will generate a commission of $1.88 million to be paid by the congregation, the court records reveal.

The sale is set to close on Halloween. The synagogue is set to vacate the site in January and relocate temporarily to 101 West End Avenue. It is anticipated that the new building will be completed by 2018 or 2019, the filing say.

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