Developer Yair Levy was once a significant player in New York real estate. Then the state banned him from selling condos and co-ops. He kept his family-owned properties, though — along with the obligation to pay their loans.
But apparently, his family is struggling to do that. Wells Fargo has begun foreclosure proceedings at the Levy family’s half dozen West 28th Street buildings. PincusCo first reported the move.
The action stems from a $21.3 million loan issued in 2018. Wells Fargo identified Yair Levy’s daughters, Galit and Rafaela Levy, as guarantors in its complaint.
Levy’s New York ban is limited to selling apartments. He still heads the family business, Time Century Holdings, according to his website, which includes photos of seven “past and current assets.”
In 2011, a court found that Levy defrauded buyers and tenants at Rector Square, a failed Battery Park City condo conversion, by emptying its reserve fund. Levy was ordered to pay $7.4 million in damages or restitution, as well as other civil penalties. The judgment, which included the statewide ban on selling apartments, was upheld the following year.
In 2013, The Real Deal reported that Levy was assumed to be the buyer of the six properties — 45 West 28th Street, 47 West 28th Street, 49 West 28th Street, 51 West 28th Street, 53 West 28th Street and 55 West 28th Street — for $44 million.
Preservationists had tried before to get the buildings landmarked and continued that effort after Levy bought them. In 2019, they succeeded. Against his wishes, the city gave landmark status to five of the properties, excluding only 45 West 28th Street.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission cited the history of songwriting on what was known as Tin Pan Alley. Levy had claimed some of those songs were racist, making the buildings unsuitable for landmark designation.
The developer became more active in Florida after running into trouble in New York, but the episode continued to bother him.
“Money, for me, is not everything. What bothers me is that they use my name and lie about me stealing money when it’s not true,” Levy told TRD in a 2014 interview. “They refused to look into documents I prepared to prove everything I was saying.”
He called the ban an embarrassment and said nothing could stop him from doing business.
Levy could not immediately be reached for comment. Time Century Holdings could not be reached.