Law students at St. Francis College won’t have to look too far for source material this semester.
The college and Rockrose Development filed motions to have a lawsuit that was brought by Alexico Group dismissed, Crain’s reported. The motions were filed in Manhattan state Supreme Court two months after Alexico, embittered by a scuttled purchase of St. Francis’ Brooklyn Heights campus, filed its lawsuit.
Attorneys for St. Francis and Rockrose say a $180 million deal to sell the campus at 180 Remsen Street to Alexico fell apart because the company wasn’t willing or able to close by a March 30 deadline, which already represented a six-month extension to finalize the deal. One factor holding up the sale was the discovery of an 8-foot setback restriction on half of the campus, hampering the property’s value.
Two weeks before the deadline, Alexico’s attorney said it could buy the campus for between $100 million and $120 million, and proposed St. Francis assume an equity stake to make up some of the difference from the original terms. The college didn’t budge.
On March 30, Alexico didn’t close on the purchase. A day later, St. Francis terminated the agreement, according to an affidavit, and closed on a deal to sell the campus to Rockrose for $160 million. Alexico’s lawsuit cast suspicion on how quickly that deal came together.
The July lawsuit alleged that Alexico discussed the potential of an equity partnership on the redevelopment of the site. Rockrose allegedly signed a nondisclosure agreement that prevented Henry Elghanayan’s firm from negotiating directly with St. Francis, while the college supposedly forfeited the right to take competing bids after signing a contract with Alexico in April 2022.
Alexico’s lawsuit is seeking either a sale of the campus to the firm for $160 million or $10 million for a security deposit in addition to damages such as costs and lost profit; Alexico aimed to redevelop the property into condos, while the suit claimed Rockrose was interested in a condo/rental split.
— Holden Walter-Warner