By Al Barbarino
A group of investors have shown a Queens strip club the door, winning praise from their neighbors and hopefully a profit, to boot.
“Guaranteed to please,” an advertisement for The Mile High Gentlemen’s Club at 248-258 Rockaway Boulevard in Rosedale, Queens once read.
But prior to the club’s eviction in February, its presence, advertisements and billboards were anything but pleasing — they were appalling — to many neighborhood residents.
That included Sholom Jacobs, the principal of Lawrence-based Jacobs Real Estate Advisors, who jumped at the “win-win” opportunity to scoop up the mortgage on the property last year, subsequently purchasing the deed in July.
“It was an opportunity to finally get them out of the neighborhood,” Jacobs said. “It was an unbelievable feeling to do a service to the community and a great real estate deal at the same time.”
Jacobs, who lives near the site with his wife and three kids and who is part of the religious community there, said he found the deal through his relationship with the local Ridgewood Bank.
He acquired the loan on the building after the club failed to pay back-rent and renew its liquor license and later worked out a deal with the previous building owner, Mordechay Movtady of Kings Point, to purchase the deed for an undisclosed amount.
For over five years, the gentlemen’s club was a bone of contention with local residents, politicians and religious groups, its provocative billboards visible from Rockaway Boulevard, a main artery that connects the “Five Towns” of Nassau County. By some estimates, over 75,000 cars passed the signs each day.
“I agreed with my neighbors that no-one wanted those kinds of signs or that kind of place in our neighborhood,” Jacobs said. “When I saw the mortgage was for sale by the bank, I found a group of like-minded investors and we bought that mortgage.”
The ultimate plan is to redevelop the 30,000 s/f piece of land from a “dingy commercial district” once anchored by Mile High Gentlemen’s Club and a XXX DVD store, to one made up of “friendly neighborhood businesses,” with the likely presence of a national chain restaurant, Jacobs said.
“We have interest from various national tenants who wish to be on the busy rockaway turnpike,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs Real Estate Advisors’ niche is buying non-performing notes and mortgages. The firm owns properties in Rockaway Park, the Bronx, and recently acquired The Inwood Air Cargo Business Center at 420 Doughty Blvd, Inwood, NY.
“Jacob’s Realty Advisors continues to seek opportunities like this one, purchasing defaulted notes at deep discounts and bringing high rates of return to our investors,” Jacobs said. “We are extremely pleased with the way this all turned out.”