Bankruptcy auction set for a brownstone in limbo

14 Queens co-ops, houses also go on the block in March

Saga of bankrupt brownstone on the Upper West Side is coming to an end.

The bankruptcy saga of the Upper West Side brownstone, right, finally seems to be coming to an end.

The 11-unit townhouse at 313 W. 77th St. went on the market in September of 2011 at an asking price of $3.995 million.  It has languished since then.

Still, the 5,898-sf brownstone between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive is bound to fetch more than that at a bankruptcy auction.

Bankruptcy trustee Albert Togut of the Togut, Segal & Segal law firm previously entered into a contract to sell the building for $3.75 million with a tenant who has agreed to move out if an offer of at least $4.5 million is made to purchase the place vacant.

Consequently, any successful bidder below $4.5 million would have a doozy of a time getting rid of the tenant, one Angel Gamez.

One of the brokers who is listing the property exclusively told me Sunday that the only reason it hasn’t sold relates to lengthy negotiations with the tenant on the terms of leaving his apartment.  Legal papers characterize those negotiations as “extensive and difficult.”

Broker Victor Sozio went on to say that the existing contract was nothing more than a marker — “stralking horse,” he called it — though it is not inconceivable that Gamez will end up with the building.

29-25 Ericsson St., East Elmhurst, house is to be auctioned March 13.

In Queens, a second auction will offer for sale on March 13 eight co-ops and six houses ranging in price from $84,000 to $450,000.  Details can be found on the Web site of Public Administrator Lois Rosenblatt, who periodically schedules estate auctions of properties left by owners who die without a will.

As for the Upper West Side property, it is a five-story walkup built in 1920. The 17-foot-wide dwelling is on a block with several single-family houses and is “ready” to be restored as one, according to the listing.  A larger brownstone a couple of doors away sold a year ago for $11.175 million.

317 W. 77th St., which sold for just over $11 million last year

317 W. 77th St., which sold for just over $11 million.

Given the disparity in prices, it is unsurprising that a Streeteasy commenter who reports having seen the building a year ago says original details are absent and a gut renovation is necessary.  Certainly, the presence alone of 11 units confirms that person’s assessment, as does the brownstone’s exterior appearance, which I checked on Sunday.

Legal documents referenced by another commenter show that the building was converted to a co-op in 1988 with four shareholders, including the sponsor.  In 1995, the corporation defaulted on its mortgage and, in 2003, filed for bankruptcy.

The assessed value is $417,600, and annual taxes amount to $55,762.

The bankruptcy auction is scheduled to be held at the Togut offices, One Penn Plaza, Suite 3335, on March 21 at 10 a.m.

Although the property’s legal limbo prevented it from receiving an accepted offer at the asking price after it went on the market a long time ago, the chances must be pretty good that it will find a buyer at a respectable price on the 21st.

Because I will be away, I will be unable, unfortunately, to follow my usual practice of reporting the results of both auctions.

Tomorrow: Out and About

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

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