Icon Realty Takes $59M Mortgage on UES Building, Longtime Restaurant Leaves


Residential developer Icon Realty Management has closed a $59.9 million mortgage tied to the acquisition of 1556 Second Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Icon affiliate 1556 Realty Corp. bought the mixed-use property at the corner of 80th Street, for $7 million and closed the loan on Jan. 29th, public records show. M&T Bank (MTB) financed the mortgage. The bank declined to comment. Icon did not return requests for comment.

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1556 Second Avenue
1556 Second Avenue

A person familiar with the transaction said the disparity between the loan and the sales price was for additional financing to acquire nearby properties. That person said it was not a construction loan.

Icon has been an active buyer in the area. In 2012, it bought 1538 Second Avenue for $12.7 million, 1544 Second Avenue for $8 million and 1494 Second Avenue for $7.8 million, according to property records.

Italian restaurant Divino was a longtime tenant at 1556 Second Avenue, but closed earlier this month. “Because of special circumstances and after 37 years in business, we decided to close,” a sign on the building stated. Restaurant owner Mario Balducci could not be reached for comment.

Icon is leasing the building’s 1,700-square-foot ground floor and 1,700-square-foot basement for $27,000 per month, according to its website. The 5,383-square-foot building also has six residential units.

1556 Second Avenue is near the future 86th Street station on the upcoming Second Avenue subway line. Other developers have targeted the neighborhood with the expectation that property values will rise with the arrival of a new transit option. The median listing price of Upper East Side apartments that went into contract in the fourth quarter of 2013 rose 28.5 percent to $1.2 million, compared to the prior quarter, according to data from StreetEasy.

Icon has not filed new construction plans for 1556 Second Avenue or the other three properties it acquired last year with the Department of Buildings.

Although Icon has yet to move forward with a new development, it has considered building on the site in the past. In a 2009 court filing in the New York State Supreme Court, prominent architecture firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects claimed that Icon owed it $497,429 for design work for “a condominium building located at the north east corner of 80th Street and Second Avenue.” Icon denied the allegations and the case never went to trial, court records show.

Icon Realty, led by Terrence Lowenberg and Todd Cohen, built the Costas Kondylis-designed luxury condo at 985 Park Avenue in 2011. The developer has also purchased high-profile residential properties including the former home of painter Judith Rothschild at 1110 Park Avenue and the Malcolm S. Forbes townhouse at 11 West 12th Street.