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Deals & Dealmakers

Selling points: Durst goes beyond NY borders, Largavista mulling creative office conversion

Durst Organization

Durst reaches beyond NY borders

The Durst Organization has acquired a slice of the Philadelphia waterfront for just over $21 million, according to sources.

The purchase of the Philadelphia Piers at Penn’s Landings is Durst’s first purchase outside of New York.

Alexander Durst, chief development officer of The Durst Organization, said, “This purchase reflects our bullish thinking on Philadelphia and the long-term possibilities that we see for the development of the city as a whole.”

The deal spans Piers 12, 13-15, 19 and 24 and the Durst Organization sees the site as a long-term hold with significant potential, but has no immediate plans for development.

Philly Mayor Jim Kenney has put forward a $90 million funding proposal towards the $225 million investment for an 11-acre park decking 1-95 and connecting Center City with Penn’s Landing waterfront.

The Mayor’s proposal opens up the waterfront, particularly near the Piers at Penn’s Landing site, which contains a Dave & Busters, a Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse, a Morgan’s Pier Beer Garden, a DLC Management Parking Facility and the Philadelphia Marine Center marina.

The Durst Organization purchased the property from Brandywine Realty Trust. Alex Wolfington of Wolfington Network, LLC represented Brandywine Realty Trust.

Berger Organization

Berger closes on former Blue Cross building

Berger Organization, a real estate company based in Newark, NJ, has closed on its acquisition of 33 Washington Street, a 450,000 s/f, 18-story office tower located in downtown Newark.

The property was built for Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield and is now multi-tenanted by leading companies.

Photo via Ten-X
Photo via Ten-X

The property was marketed by Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, LP (HFF) on behalf of the seller, LNR Property, a subsidiary of Starwood Property Trust. Located on 1.6 acres across the street from Washington Park, at the northern end of the city’s central business district, the building is in the James Street Commons Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

It is surrounded by landmarks such as the Newark Museum, John Ballantine House and Newark Public Library, and is two blocks from the Newark Broad Street commuter light rail and a half a mile from Newark Penn Station.

“We are excited to add this iconic building to our portfolio,” said Miles Berger, chairman and CEO of Berger Organization.

“The demand for high-quality office space in the city continues to grow and 33 Washington’s excellent location and amenities make it a highly attractive address.”

The tower, which was completed in 1970, features a fitness center, shared conference rooms, on-site parking, and impressive granite lobby and views of the Manhattan skyline. Berger Organization, which owns and operates the Robert Treat Hotel & Conference Center in Newark, is also in the the process of redeveloping the historic St. Francis Hotel into a 102-room TRYP by Wyndham hotel.

The 1930s-era property, which operated for 50 years as the Carlton Hotel, is anticipated to open in September 2017 as one of the first TRYP properties in the US, a select-service urban hotel brand popular in Europe.

Largavista Companies

LIC owner mulls creative office conversion

Long Island City developer LargaVista Companies is mulling a creative office conversion and expansion near Sunnyside Yards.

The long-time LIC owner and investor just closed on the $27.1 million purchase of 30-10 41st Avenue, an existing 65,000 s/f office building at the intersection of Northern Blvd. and 41st  Avenue.

LargaVista owns the adjacent building at 29-42 Northern Blvd. and according to COO Adam Good, , “We are looking at many options with respect to the repositioning of this asset.

“We not only want to enhance the desirability of this building for commercial tenants, but also activate the base of the building and provide a unique amenity for the surrounding area.”

Marcello Porcelli, CEO of LargaVista Companies, added, “We love the LIC market. It continues to evolve as a center for creative thinking, artistic expression and an ideal place to live and work. We think more and more companies want to feed off that energy and base their operations here.”

Financing for the deal was provided by TriState Capital Bank. John Reinertson and Joshua Kleinberg from CBRE represented seller Leon Kassabian, who had owned the property since 1996.

Meridian Investment Sales

Two week turnaround on Parkway purchase

Meridian Investment Sales, sold a mixed-use property located in Prospect Lefferts Gardens for $10.5 million.

Managing directors Mark Steinmetz and Richard Velotta represented the seller, Midwood Associates LLC, and the buyers, Yechiel Weinberger and Parkway Realty.

The four-story, 35,120 s/f mixed-use property at 1130 Nostrand Avenue (aka 292 Midwood Street) contains 40 apartment units and six retail spaces. It was built in 1926,.

“Meridian’s close relationship with both the buyer and the seller allowed for us to complete this transaction in less than two weeks,” said Steinmetz.

Eastern Consolidated

Tony townhouse has development options

Eastern Consolidated is exclusively marketing an Upper West Side brownstone at 48 West 85th Street off Central Park West.

The asking price is $12.2 million for the property, which was originally built in 1886 for a member of the Lehman family.

Ronda Rogovin, senior director and principal, and Chad Sinsheimer, senior director, are the exclusive brokers for the five-story, 20-foot-wide, 7,700- s/f townhouse, which is currently configured as a two-family home with two terraces and a landscaped garden.

Gary Meese, Senior Director, Financial Services, is the analyst for the transaction.

Sinsheimer added, “This townhouse is especially attractive because it will be delivered vacant at closing, which will give a user or investor the option of easily redeveloping it as a single family residence or maintaining it as a two-unit townhouse.”

Troutbrook

Freud sets sights on Miami

New York-based Troutbrook/Freud Builders has set its sights on the Miami market with two recent land deals valued at $19 million.

Troutbrook Miami Development, a subsidiary of Freud Builders of NYC, has entered into an unconditional contract and has closed on two land parcels in , one in Wynwood and one in Allapattah-Jackson Memorial Health District.

Both sites will feature a combination of uses: showroom and residential for the Wynwood site and retail, office and residential for the Allapattah/JMHD site.

Remax Florida brokered the sale of the sites, the larger of which is  1490 NW 20th Street in Wynwood,  a 40,000 s/f parcel zoned for mixed use development. Troutbrook is presently engaging broker participation for this project , with no retail or office broker having been selected.

The company anticipates a staged ground up development, initially 50,000 s/f of combined new development, and depending on financing, entering into a JV with Smith Henzy housing developer for an additional 80,000 s/f of residential, for a combined 120,000 s/f. Troutbrook is actively soliciting tenants for both sites.

Chariff Realty of Miami will be charged with leasing the Wynwood development upon completion.

Marc J. Freud, a principal of Troutbrook Miami Development, commented: “It’s an exciting time to be developing in Miami and the projects are being executed thoughtfully, recognizing that the lease up could take more time due to challenges in the retail and residential overall Miami marketplace.”

Freud is more optimistic about the office market as he believes tenants are being displaced in the Downtown Miami marketplace due to escalating rents and a lack of available office space alternatives.

Avanath Capital

Investor wakes up to bedroom community

Avanath Capital Management, LLC, an institutional fund manager, has acquired Grand Pointe Park, a 156-unit workforce housing asset in Poughkeepsie.

Avanath purchased the property from a repeat private seller for $19.3 million. Dmitry Gourkine of CBRE Affordable Housing represented both the buyer and the seller.

Avanath secured a $13 million loan from Fannie Mae to finance the acquisition. The ten year-loan was structured with a loan-to-value of 67 percent.

Grand Pointe Park is located at 161 Clubhouse Drive in Poughkeepsie, New York.

“As rents continue to soar throughout major metropolitan areas such as New York City, many renters are being priced out of urban cores and are migrating to the suburbs,” explained John Williams, president of Avanath.

“This regional movement is driving tremendous demand for more affordable communities in commuting distance to expensive metros, making these assets ideal targets as strong long-term investments.”

Grand Pointe Park is located three miles from Poughkeepsie Station, which provides train service to Grand Central Station in New York City in 90 minutes.

Cushman & Wakefield

Prism sells NJ office park

Prism Capital Partners and an institutional partner have sold the landmark, 380,000 s/f BroadAcres Office Park in Bloomfield, NJ, to P3RE.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Metropolitan Area Capital Markets Group orchestrated the off-market trade.

The four-building, 20-acre property is located along the Garden State Parkway.

“This transaction illustrates the liquidity for suburban office space in northern New Jersey, particularly for established properties with solid leasing histories and strong upside potential,” noted Cushman & Wakefield’s Gary Gabriel, who headed the assignment with investment sales specialists Andrew Merin, David Bernhaut and Brian Whitmer.

Prism, which is headquartered onsite at 200 Broadacres Drive, will continue as BroadAcres Office Parks’ exclusive leasing and onsite managing agent on behalf of P3RE.

The new ownership’s immediate plans include a major capital improvement program, which Prism Construction Services will oversee.

Calare Properties

Pepe property purchased

Calare Properties, a private Massachusetts-based investment firm, has sold 40 Pepe’s Farm Road in Milford, Conn. to an institutional buyer for $13.25 million.

Calare originally purchased the 200,000 s/f high-bay industrial warehouse property in 2014 at 50 percent occupancy with a strategy for capital improvements designed to drive tenant demand and increase value.

Calare helped propel the property to full occupancy securing a 10-year lease for the entire building to a strong credit, global transportation solutions company.

Bill Manley, CEO and CIO of Calare, said, “Knowing there is a lack of high quality high-bay space in this market, we were confident this investment would prove profitable. We’re pleased to deliver this site to the buyer with a premiere long-term tenant in place.”

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