A bit of news crept across my email that, for a moment, had me all kinds of shook.
“Friedland Properties Sues Zabar Family to Force Sale of Upper West Side Property,” read the scary headline from Commercial Observer.
I immediately though the worst and made all kinds of internal arguments about how “we” were going to save Zabar’s. Never mind who “we” might be. The point is that it was all an overreaction. The article clearly points out that the Upper West Side institution is not the property involved in the lawsuit. Phew!
According to the complaint filed on June 28, plaintiffs 2231 Associates LLC and Gem 2231, LLC each own a 25% tenant in common stake in 2231 Broadway. ZKZ 2231 LLC holds the remaining 50%. The lawsuit is verified by Eric Friedland and William Friedland of Friedland Properties, a family-owned real estate company and the 25/25 plaintiff. Commercial Observer reported that the 50% stakeholder LLC is owned by the Zabar family.
The building in question, 2231 Broadway — located on the corner of 80th Street right across the street from the famous Zabar’s store — is a five-story, multifamily structure that the Friedlands and Zabars intended to develop together after entering into an agreement last December.
The Friedlands claim that the building is primed for redevelopment to maximize its value. However, the Zabar’s LLC has allegedly refused to engage in any meaningful discussion.
Friedland argues that this refusal is “commercially unreasonable,” that “joint ownership of the Property between the parties is no longer desirable or workable,” and that the 50% owner should be forced to sell its share.
The suit also seeks for the Zabar’s group to account for “all income, profits, and expenditures with respect to the Property and that the Court adjust the rights of the parties so each receives its proper portion of the Property’s profits.”
Neither Friedland nor Zabar’s could be immediately reached for comment.
Back in 1912, and for the rest of that decade, this same building, going by 2237-2239 Broadway (the current Verizon store address is 2239) was the location of the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts, now known as Parsons School of Design.
Addendum: The school occupied 2239 Broadway until 1939.
You mean the old H&H Bagels place?
Corporations make contracts and expect everyone to live by them but they don’t have to. Just like Trump Friedland wants to bully the Zabar’s so that Friedland can not just make millions but hundreds of millions and destroy antöne beautiful building.
Contracts should be honored. Zabar’s should win but we know what NY is like so I won’t hold my breath.
Decades ago, Saul Zabar made a promise to the community that he would not develop any of his properties, which include the building in which Barnes & Noble’s sits, the site of the DSW store on 79th/Bway, and others.
The Zabar’s had the same arrangement with Friedland on the old Circuit City property (SE corner of 80th/Bway). Zabars refused to allow development there until the building was wrested from them. And sure enough, it was developed immediately< giving us yet another sad building with commercial space that will likely never be rented (and only added to the already growing number of empty storefronts).
A few year ago, I had a conversation with Saul in which he told me that he had been offered an enormous amount for the DSW site. He turned it down. He does not want the neighborhood to end up with supertall buildings (the DSW could currently yield an as-of-right building over 50 stories tall! Add air rights, setback, etc. and we would be looking at a building of 50-75 stories!!!).
The Zabars are "good guys" who care about the neighborhood that they live in and serve. The Friedlands are a bunch of greedy landlords who only see dollar signs, and don't gave a s— about the UWS. I hope like hell that the Zabars' prevail here.