Negotiations for sale of hotel fall through

Negotiations on the sale of Carriage City Plaza, including the 102-unit hotel that’s been vacant for 2 1/2 years, have fallen through with the leading potential buyer.

Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Leonard Bier briefed commissioners during his report at the March 2 Redevelopment Agency meeting.

Carriage City Plaza from train platformAfter “quite a few months” of negotiations, AST Development and Amalgamated Bank did not come to agreement, Bier said. Amalgamated does not own the 16-story condo-hotel but has been working as an agent of a pension fund (LongView ULTRA Construction Loan Investment Fund) that owns the property.

AST Development was a partner in Metro Rahway on Campbell Street and also has been in talks to develop the Center Circle site on Main Street.

Last spring, Bier said Amalgamated Bank started a process of an auction-style sale of the 16-story property, which went into foreclosure in 2010 and was acquired by a pension fund. The pension fund acquired about 160 of the 209 units in the building, which it now leases, as well as the ground-floor retail space and hotel. Hotel Indigo left in September 2013 after about five years in the space.

Carriage City PlazaBier could not say why negotiations did not culminate in a sale. The bank is “very tight lipped,” giving out very little information, including a confidentiality agreement for the parties involved. As part of a process that started last year, the bank had pre-qualified buyers through a Request For Interest (RFI) and then Request For Proposal (RFP). Whether the bank goes back to those potential buyers still interested is unclear.

Bier told commissioners at a meeting in May that Carriage City Plaza is on the block, hopeful that a sale could occur by year’s end.

The property’s owner, 80 E. Milton Ave., LLC, is a subsidiary of a pension fund (LongView ULTRA Construction Loan Investment Fund), of which Amalgamated Bank is a trustee and was the original lender for the $65-million project.