Judith Evans, Newsday, Nov. 4, 1994
A relative newcomer on the New York real estate scene has raised its profile a notch, snapping up the badly deteriorated Belnord apartment building on the Upper West Side and ending an epic 20-year rent strike.
Property Markets Group, Inc. last week plunked down $ 15 million in cash to buy the landmark 13-story apartment house that fills an entire block on West 86th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. Headed by four thirty something New Yorkers, the firm in the last 18 months has scarfed up 28 distressed apartment buildings – mostly in Manhattan – valued at $ 70 million.
But few within the city’s real estate community know much about Property Markets’ principals, who have varying degrees of experience in banking, property management and law. “I don’t know them,” said Thomas Vitullo-Martin, head of the Belnord’s tenant group, who met with Property Markets’ principal, Ziel Feldman, several times during the company’s five-month negotiation for the building. “I got the strong impression that he kept his word. He was totally economically motivated. He had absolutely no emotional involvement.”
The sale, and the emergence of a firm like Property Markets, also signals a return by investors to the multi-family residential market in New York, which has suffered heavy losses over the past six years. Many highlyleveraged multi-family dwellings hit with plummeting values and rising vacancies when the recession hit in the late 1980s.