by Amanda Fung, Crain's New York
Date Publish: Tuesday July 19, 2011

Move comes in wake of refinancing the 159-unit project at 40 Broad St.; apartmen

 Sales are officially resuming at the Setai Wall Street, a once-troubled financial district condo conversion now under direction of Synergy New York, a marketing firm retained by the project's developer, Zamir Equities. The remaining units will be sold for roughly 16% less than the original prices set three years ago.

The office-to-condo conversion project, located at 40 Broad St., is about 60% sold, according to Zamir, which on Tuesday named Synergy as its new sales and marketing agent. Earlier this year, the 159-unit project was recapitalized by HFZ Capital Group and Acro Group. Elie Pariente, a principal at Synergy, said he was approached by the developer because he had represented a number of buyers in the building.

“The building has been occupied for a year now. The amenities and spa are operational, and the restaurant is doing well,” said Mr. Pariente, adding that a broker party showcasing the property's roof deck will be held next week. “This is a good value.”

Synergy has 35 to 40 units left to sell, Mr. Pariente says, noting that a few contracts have been sent out this past week. The units had to be re-priced “to match today's market,” he said.

Currently, one bedrooms start at $750,000, two bedrooms start at $930,000 and penthouses start at $1.2 million. The average price per square foot is $1,090, but that figure is slightly inflated since many of the remaining units are large penthouses, he noted. Even then, the price is far below the $1,300 per square foot the developer first hoped to get when the project was conceived, pre-Lehman Brothers collapse, said Mr. Pariente. Experts note that $1,000 per square foot is a reasonable price point for the neighborhood.

“We're excited,” Mr. Pariente said. “With the lack of inventory in the financial district and the Sept. 11 memorial opening, more people will realize this neighborhood is one of the most up and coming areas in the city.”

This marks a turning point for the Setai Wall Street, which was hit hard by the real estate downturn. Sales were temporarily halted late last year as the project's developer and lender worked out the site's finances. Zamir defaulted in 2009 on its $147 million loan, and its lender, Anglo Irish Bank began marketing the debt at the end of last year, according to published reports. Earlier this year, HFZ and Acro bought the debt, or 65% of the project, for the discounted price of $80 million, reports said.

“We've repositioned and invested in this property because it's a premier asset that delivers tremendous value to the buyer,” said Ziel Feldman, founding principal of HFZ Capital Group, in a statement on Tuesday. “We believe that the Setai Wall Street's amenities, finishes and price points are simply unparalleled,” Mr. Feldman added.

Synergy, formerly known as Urban Marketing, currently has a dozen agents and will be adding five more this month. It is currently marketing the remaining units at 55 Wall St., the Cipriani Club Residences, and sold all the units at District, located at 111 Fulton St. 55 Wall St. is currently 95% sold or in contract, Mr. Pariente said.

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