HFZ Slapped With $10M Lawsuit on XI Project

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By: Benyamin Davidsons

The XI, the stunning pair of curving towers, between the Hudson River and the High Line in Chelsea, is attracting more than just memorized spectators.  It is also getting slapped with lawsuits.

On Thursday, GCE Belnord, an investor in the ambitious project the XI, sued the developer HFZ Capital for approximately $10 million.   As reported by Crain’s NY, the suit, filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleges that the developer was supposed to distribute the funds to GCE but kept it instead.  In March 2015, GCE invested $68 million into a limited-liability company and the funds were to be used primarily to develop The XI.

As per the lawsuit, the deal was that GCE was supposed to get back $63 million of its investment repaid “on a priority basis” and was entitled to 100 percent of distributions until it got back all its investment.  GCE alleges that it has not yet received any payments, but that in the 2019 financial statement it saw that HFZ paid itself almost $10 million in distributions between March 2015 and the end of 2019.  GCE is suing HFZ for the $10 million in payments, as well as interest and attorneys’ fees.

Reps for HFZ and GCE did not respond to Crain’s requests for comment.

Located at 76 11th Ave, ‘the Sister Residences’ as they are nicknamed, are being designed by architect Bjarke Ingels.  In 2015, HFZ had purchased the full block from Edison Properties for $870 million, making it one of the most expensive development-site deals in Manhattan at the time.  The 402 feet tall project will include 247 condo residences, a 137-key Six Senses hotel, 90,000 square feet of retail space, art space, a spa and club.

The first tower, is a 34-story Western tower, and the second is a 25-story Eastern tower.  At the base there is a bridge connecting the two towers, with amenities and space for the condo owners.  The two luxury towers were slated to cost more than $1.9 billion ($1,700 per square foot) for development, making it one of the priciest developments ever undertaken in the Big Apple.

Developer HFZ has been undergoing a series of financial woes and lawsuits in relation to its signature condo project.  In July, Omnibuild Construction filed a lien on XI, alleging HFZ owes it about $100 million for work at The XI. Similarly, in December, Pioneer Window filed its own suit against HFZ, claiming it was not paid for roughly $24 million worth of work it completed on the project, as per Crain’s.