By Tony Wilbert
ATLANTA (Aug. 6, 2008) - Looks like Post Properties will take another shot at leaving Manhattan, the market it officially entered with much fan fare about a month before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Dave Stockert, president and CEO of Post, said this week that Post plans to sell eight communities, including its New York properties (Post Luminaria, shown at left, and Post Toscana), two apartment complexes in its hometown of Atlanta and one in northern Virginia.Post is hopeful the sales will result in gross proceeds of $500 million.
"We are taking the steps necessary to adjust our business plan to the realities of difficult current economic and financial market conditions," Stockert said. "We have reduced the size and risk of our development pipeline and assessed the carrying value of our assets in order to maintain the strength of our balance sheet."
The news must have made John Williams, founder and former chairman and CEO of Post, cringe a little. Williams spearheaded Post’s march into New York, and he took great pride at having pierced the hard-to-penetrate Manhattan residential market.
While Post Toscana (shown at left) was being built in May 2002 at East 89th Street and First Avenue, Williams took the construction lift to the top, looked over the Upper East Side skyline, and asked, “Who would have thought?” Post completed Toscana in February 2003.
In the years since, Williams left Post and then fought an unsuccessful bitter battle to gain back control. The sale of the New York high-rises will continue to the process of removing Williams’ signature from the apartment REIT.
There’s no guarantee, however, that a sale will occur quickly.
Post previously has flirted with the idea of disposing of its New York assets, which it developed in a partnership with the Clarett Group of New York. (Clarett since has sold its interests in both buildings to Post.) Post floated the idea of exchanging its New York apartment communities for something in Washington but did not find a suitable trading partner.
Post likely will get fewer offers to its New York properties than it previously got when a trade was floated, according to Lois Weiss, a New York Post columnist who covers commercial real estate in the city.
But a deal probably will be done, and Post will be gone from the city that was the apple of its founder’s eye, for a while anyway.