By Sarah Trefethen
The old days are back again, but with a modern twist, in the sale of 246 Fifth Avenue to a New York-based owner and developer for $19 million.
The 32,049 s/f NoMad building, marketed as a development opportunity by the Newmark Grubb Knight Frank capital markets group, traded just shy of the asset’s peak value of $20 million, set in 2007 at the height of the market.
The deal was arranged online, through the auction site Auction.com — something that wouldn’t have happened in 2007.
Auction.com held the live online auction on July 24 and the sale closed on December 4. A total of 281 investors signed confidentiality agreements to review the offering materials. The auction had 12 registered bidders who each placed a $50,000 fully refundable deposit for the right to bid.
The NGKF Capital Markets team of David Noonan, Jennifer Schwartzman and Paul Gojkovich led the marketing effort preceding the sale, representing the seller, a special servicer. The previous owner lost the building through foreclosure after defaulting on a loan in a commercial mortgage-backed securities transaction.
“We are pleased with the pricing, and the volume of interest in this property,” Noonan said in a statement. “We were able to show potential investors how to unlock the value in this asset, which is in a tremendous location, but needs to be re-positioned.”
The property was 42 percent occupied at the time of the transaction, according to Newmark.
The six-story building, at the corner of 28th Street and Fifth Avenue, was built in 1920 and has substantial unused air rights, according to Auction.com. Zoning allows for conversion from office to hotel or residential use.
The ground floor retail space, with 28 feet of frontage on Fifth Avenue and 125 feet on 28th Street, is vacant.
The buyer was HH Realty Equities, a local owner headed by Solmi Accad and Ariel Akkad.
“Auction.com’s web based platform is transparent, efficient and global which creates several advantages for both buyers and sellers,” Pierre Bonan, who ran the event for Auction.com, said in a statement.
“Our company has sold over $26 billion in properties across the nation since 2007. This transaction demonstrates that our process, which consistently works successfully in other markets, also works particularly well in the largest most dynamic real estate market in the country.”