Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz
may lose her two high profile properties if Art Capital Group
wins its $24 million lawsuit. They are side-by-side in Greenwich Village and date back to the 1830s. Leibovitz's plan was to combine 755 Greenwich Street and 757 Greenwich Street into a single 9,000 sqft life/work space. These plans, of course, are in jeopardy, and the former owner of the Greenwich Street homes, Jay Furman, partner in FYH Village LLC, is calling the sale a "big mistake."
The renovations have taken years, resulting in legal action from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and a $15 million lawsuit against Leibovitz by her next-door neighbor. The suit was settled in 2003, when the photographer bought the litigant's building for $1.87 million. So, she wound up paying for three properties (12,000 sq. ft. in all), which contributed to a tenuous financial situation and the loan from Art Capital Group, according to Bloomberg News.
These transactions were only part of a mountain of debt amassed by the photographer. From 1999 to 2008, Leibovitz borrowed extensively to purchase property and refinance the debt she was carrying. In total, her activity stretched to more than a dozen loans, Bloomberg News reports, all on the back of her real estate holdings. Two 2006 loans – for $4.7 million in November and $2.5 million in December – were extended by Rhinebeck Properties LLC, which happens to have the same address as Conde Nast Publications Inc.