The Real Deal reports that Sush Torgalkar is leaving his role as CEO of Extell Development not even two years after coming on board from Westbrook Partners. It is the latest in a series of high-level departures from the prolific New York development firm founded by Gary Barnett in 1989.
Citing an August 31 email, TRD reports that Torgalkar intends to maintain a role as senior advisor at Extell while he launches Sage Hall Partners, a real estate investment firm. Barnett, who stepped into the role of chairman when Torgalkar joined Extell in January 2019, plans to have involvement at Torgalkar’s firm as well.
“Gary has and will continue to support my new endeavors at Sage Hall Partners as both an investor and advisor,” Torgalkar wrote in the email.
Barnett characterizes the move as a “special opportunity” for Torgalkar, adding that he is not looking to replace him immediately. “We’re happy to see this for him,” Barnett told TRD on the phone.
Torgalkar’s departure from Extell follows that of Raizy Haas, who left in November after more than two decades at the firm, as well as marketing lead Anna Zarro, who left Extell in 2018 to form her own firm. According to TRD, another top executive—assemblage expert Dov Hertz—left in 2016 to form investment firm DH Property Holdings.
For his part, Barnett informs TRD that his focus will be navigating the impacts that COVID-19 is having on real estate in general and on the slowdown that started pre-pandemic for the luxury residential sector—the market in which Extell predominantly exists—in particular.
In several of Extell’s new, high-profile (literally and figuratively) developments, hundreds of units remain unsold. Since 2018, the developer has offered an array of incentives to entice buyers, from rent-to-own offers to waiving common charges for up to five years. This includes developments like Central Park Tower on Billionaire’s Row, touted as New York’s most expensive condo project and tallest residential building, where a five-bedroom once asking $75 million has projected annual common charges of $124,352, according to a separate TRD story.
Transactions that are occurring reflect a different price reality than they did just a few years ago. TRD reports that a condo at Extell’s One57, another Billionaire’s Row property, sold in July for $17.2 million. The sellers, HNA Group, paid $30 million for the unit in 2015. Such significant price differentials will have to be factored into the sales and marketing of the sponsor units that Extell still holds in the building.