An empty lot at the southeast corner of Washington and Carlisle Streets, behind the W Hotel, is being shopped for sale at $260 million. The owners, father-and-son team Fred and Richard Ohebshalom, bought the 11,000-square-foot site of a former parking garage during foreclosure in 2011, for $57.5 million. They subsequently spent millions more assembling air rights from nearby properties on Washington and Greenwich Streets, which added more than 200,000 square feet to the parcel’s potential buildout, bringing its total zoned potential to 360,000 square feet.
The Ohebshaloms quickly announced plans for a 30-floor luxury residential tower, which was to be completed by the end of 2014. When work never began on that project, they announced a grander plan, for 51-story apartment building, containing 429 apartments. This structure was to be designed by Gary Handel, the architect who conceived the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences, in Battery Park City. A few months later, however, the Ohebshaloms announced that the site was for sale, at $260 million. This price, if any buyer agreed to pay it, would set a new record for dollars per buildable square foot.
But all is not well in the House of Ohebshalom, which may translate into an opportunity for prospective purchasers. In March, the son sued his father for trying to sell the property for $148 million, a price that the aggrieved young man described in court documents as “woefully deficient.” (This would represents a 43 percent discount from the original asking price of $260 million.) The suit also alleges that the father had threatenied to sell 111 Washington Street at the reduced price, “in a bad-faith effort to extract concessions,” from his son.
A week later, the younger Ohebshalom filed a second suit, accusing his father of having defrauded him by draining millions of dollars from trust funds controlled by the elder Ohebshalom, theoretically for the benefit of his son.
In the meantime, the site remains empty. The only activity at 111 Washington Street for several years appears to have been its use as a storage facility for portable toilets that the Port Authority needed for construction workers on the nearby World Trade Center site.