96 Wythe Acquisition LLC (the “Debtor”) owned and operated the upscale Williamsburg Hotel (the “Hotel”) located at 96 Wythe Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. The Hotel, built in 2017, consists of 10-stories, 147 independent hotel rooms, features a restaurant, lobby bar, outdoor café, lounge bar, water tower bar, event ballrooms, and boasts a rooftop pool and bar with spectacular panoramic views across the East River to the New York City skyline.
On February 23, 2021, the Debtor filed for Chapter 11 relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. On May 31, 2022, the Bankruptcy Court appointed Stephen S. Gray as the Chapter 11 Trustee of the Debtor’s estate, for cause (the “Trustee”). The Togut Firm was retained by the Trustee to serve as his counsel and CohnReznick LLP as his financial advisor.
After assuming control and stabilizing operations, the Trustee worked closely with his professionals and the Debtor’s prepetition secured lender, Benefit Street Partners Realty Operating Partnership, L.P., to market and sell the Hotel. Following an auction that spanned several weeks, the Togut Firm obtained Bankruptcy Court approval of the sale of the Hotel for $96 million and other consideration to Quadrum Development Corporation subject to, and conditioned upon, confirmation of the Trustee’s Chapter 11 plan of liquidation (the “Plan”). The Plan was confirmed pursuant to an Order dated April 10, 2023.
On April 17, 2023, the Trustee, with the assistance of the Togut Firm, CohnReznick LLP and special real estate counsel, Garfunkel Wild, P.C., successfully closed the sale. Under the Plan, which became effective upon the sale closing, Mr. Gray assumed the role of Liquidation Trustee to, among other things, pursue certain retained causes of action on behalf of the estate and to complete the administration of the Debtor’s case.
Despite less-than-ideal market conditions for the sale of commercial real property, the value-maximizing result in this challenging and contentious case would not have been possible without the diligent efforts of and collaboration among the Trustee and his professionals, including CohnReznick LLP (Chris Creger and Molly Jobe), Garfunkel Wild, P.C. (Burton Weston and Sean Leyden), and the Togut Firm (Albert Togut, Frank A. Oswald, Neil Berger, Bryan M. Kotliar and others). In addition, the cooperation and support from Benefit Street Partners, which agreed to fund the case at a substantial reduction of its claim, was instrumental to the outcome of this case.