By: Hadassa Kalatizadeh
The $2 billion twin “Twist” tower condo project, was purchased at a bankruptcy public offering on Thursday by New York developer Steven Witkoff’s Group , partnered with billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries.
As reported by the NY Post, “the Twists” or XI building on 11th Avenue was valued at $900 million at the offering. The purchase will enable construction to continue at the site, where plans call for the 900,000 square-foot towers. “Our partnership [with Blavatnik’s Access Industries] has deep experience in successfully developing large projects in Manhattan,” Witkoff said in a statement. He said construction can begin again after Jan. 1, and said the new plans will add a public plaza with access to the High Line.
“This is a strong stroke of faith in the city’s future despite the pandemic and Omicron,” said an industry insider.
The XI broke ground in 2016, and completion was originally slated for the end of 2019. Construction was halted at the site before the pandemic began in late 2019, however, creating an eye sore for park-goers by the high line. The original project owner, HFZ Capital Group fell into default on its $1 billion of debt, including $136 million owed to a prime lender, Britain’s Children’s Investment Fund. Construction manager Omnibuild also filed a $100 million lien in 2020.
Witkoff’s investor group will now take control of the project. The plan is still to have two towers- 26- and 36-stories tall, at Eleventh Avenue and West 17th Street. The name, “The Twists”, refers to the way architect Bjarke Ingels plans to have them shape in an askew design. The towers will feature 236 luxury condo units priced up to $25 million each. The towers will also house a world-class hotel featuring a 90,000 square-foot spa. So far, however, just 38 units were sold, as per the state attorney general’s filings.
Witkoff will endeavor to revive the project using his experience. The developer is known for the partial conversion of the Woolworth Building into residential apartments, and for developing 91posh condos at 150 Charles St. in the West Village.
A team led by Cushman & Wakefield’s Adam Spies and Doug Harmon was in charge of marketing the debt in a public offering. They did not respond for comment.