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The Post writes, “Lenders have reached out to powerhouse developer Steve Witkoff to throw a life raft to Lower Manhattan’s stalled Battery Maritime hotel project after talks with an earlier rescuer broke down.
The repeatedly delayed waterfront project was set adrift after talks with Norwalk, Conn.’s Stoneleigh Capital about ponying up the rest of the dough to finish the job failed, sources told The Post.
Meanwhile, the Economic Development Corp. is scrambling to “evaluate the city’s options” to revive the long-awaited hotel and restaurant plan, which would add a crown jewel to the foot of rejuvenated South Street.
The landmarked Battery Maritime Building towers over the dock for the Governors Island ferry. A planned luxury hotel on the roof remains frustratingly unfinished years after the city chose a development team in 2007 and signed a 99-year lease with them in 2012.
The developers, led by current and former executives of the Dermot Company, balked last year when estimated construction costs swelled from $100 million to $125 million “and probably much more than that,” said a source familiar with the issues.
The overruns were due in part to an abatement needed after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and changes in the federal historic tax-credit program, which chopped $10 million from expected financing.
Some $77 million of the funding was in the form of a loan through Washington’s controversial EB-5 program, which grants residency to non-US investors and their families in return for their investment.
Now, sources said, the unidentified lenders — going by the name of New York City Waterfront Development Fund — are talking to Witkoff, whose major new projects include the Edition by Marriott Times Square. Witkoff has previously drawn on EB-5 financing with an $80 million loan for a 28-story hotel-apartment tower at 215 Chrystie St.
The project is to include a 70-room hotel, a rooftop restaurant and an event space inside the terminal’s Great Hall. It’s the missing link in a South Street redevelopment boom that includes Howard Hughes Corp.’s new Seaport, several planned ultra-tall apartment towers and a new waterfront esplanade.
The city has struggled to get more and better use out of the Maritime building since at least as far back as the 1980s — when a scheme by developer William Zeckendorf Jr. for a 60-story, round office tower on top never materialized.”