Buyer Of HNA Palisades Center Misses Court Deadline For Purchase


Vasco Ventures Still Trying To Close Transaction

HNA Willing To Entertain New Offers

By Tina Traster

ZVG@Palisades LLC, an entity affiliated with Vasco Ventures, did not meet its Nov. 12th deadline to purchase the HNA Training Center in Palisades.

The Chinese-owned HNA is free to entertain new offers to purchase the hotel and conference center that sits on 106 bucolic acres at 234 Route 9W.

Sources close to the deal say the two entities are continuing to negotiate to close the $40 million transaction within the next two weeks but HNA is open to a buyer that has the wherewithal to complete a quick transaction.

Two months ago, Vasco Ventures sought relief from the bankruptcy court after filing a Chapter 11 petition in the Easter District of New York asking a judge to impose a 60-day extension to enable it to close the transaction. Vasco had missed the original closing deadline of July 10th for the $40 million purchase.

HNA chose not to contest Vasco Venture’s request for 60 additional days to close. However, the agreement was contingent upon HNA keeping the $8 million deposit as liquidated damages. The agreement also stipulates there will be no additional court proceedings even if Vasco Ventures not does close.

On November 12th, the bankruptcy court judge stipulated if Vasco Venture failed to close the transaction by the end of the business day, HNA would be permitted to “terminate the PSA (purchase and sales agreement) without further notice or order of this court.” The court’s ruling also lists more than 15 creditors Vasco Ventures owes affiliated with the intended purchase including architectural, financial, and advisory services.

Sources close to Vasco Ventures say the entity is lining up a lender/investor and is awaiting documents from HNA.

Vasco Ventures, a south Brooklyn-based, real estate investment business buys commercial and residential real estate. Vasco Ventures, founded by Ephraim Vashovsky in 2008, describes itself as a leader in “distressed and undervalued” real estate.

Vashovsky has previously focused on buying city residential buildings to upgrade them, and then rent or sell them in a much-improved state. More recently, Vasco Ventures has shifted to larger properties, such as the 2017 acquisition of the Griffin Office Park Portfolio in Hartford, Connecticut, for a reported $5 million. That five-building, 375,000-square-foot suburban office campus sits in the Griffin Office Center, a 600-acre development in greater Hartford.

Vasco Ventures also has buildings in Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and New York.

In 2017, Vashovsky pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in the first degree, a felony, one count; and endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor; in a case involving a building on East 115th street in Manhattan. Vashovsky had bought the building for $3 million with a plan to renovate and rebuild luxury apartments. A family with five children under the age of 12 were living in the building. To force them out of their $2,400 a month rent stabilized apartment, it was alleged that Vashovsky gutted the building around them, cut off water and heat; and, according to the Manhattan district attorney, orchestrated a campaign of harassment. Vashovsky was sentenced to twenty days community service and forfeiture of $350,000.