Author Archive

Benchmark Buys Two WV Apt. Buildings Within One Week

Benchmark Real Estate Group has picked up two apartment buildings in the West Village, Jordan Vogel, a principal at Benchmark, told Commercial Observer. The firm bought 82-84 West 12th Street for $22.8 million on Feb. 4, he said, and a week prior, 194 West 10th Street for $9.3 million. The West 10th Street sale closed on Jan. 28 and was filed with the city last Thursday.

“There’s been a fight to quality,” Mr. Vogel said. “[I] used to say anything prime Manhattan. Now I’d much rather be in the West Village than on the Upper East Side. We’re seeking the highest rent districts.”

Benchmark bought the West 12th Street building between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas from Heller Realty, Mr. Vogel said. The 25,000-square-foot elevator building is comprised of 24 one-bedroom units of about 725 square feet. Ryan Darius Salon is the lone commercial tenant in the building. The goal is to bring the six-story building up to condominium standard—and $6,500-per-month rents—so it can present a viable option for folks looking to buy at Rudin Management‘s Greenwich Lane.

“We know our place in the market,” Mr. Vogel said. “This isn’t a comp for Greenwich Lane. But, you’ll have the same quality renovation and the same square footage [in the apartments] in the same exact location. You won’t have the amenities, but you won’t have a half-million-dollar down payment.”

Benchmark is spending $250 per square foot to update the apartments and will add a roof deck, virtual doorman and laundry service.

Rosewood Realty Group‘s Aaron Jungreis and represented the seller in the West 12th Street deal. He declined to comment via a spokesman. Ivan Hakimian of HPNY represented the buyer. Eleas Mathios of Arch Equities represented the seller in the West 10th Street deal, and Becnhmark had no broker.

Benchmark snapped up the 11,000-square-foot walk-up building on West 10th Street between West 4th and Bleecker Streets from a real estate attorney, whom Mr. Vogel declined to identify. Following a renovation costing $150 per square foot and including upgrading the apartments, redoing the common areas, hallways and lobby as well as adding a roof deck, Mr. Vogel said his firm plans to increase the rents to $110 per foot from $55 per square foot. The company plans to turn the 350-square-foot studios into one-bedrooms.

Here’s what the $10M- $20M NYC investment sales market looked like last week

Ex- Soho teddy bear factory sells for $18.7M; Castellan shells out $10M for Midtown site – See more at:

1.) The former home of the Original Teddy Bear Factory at 497 Broome Street in Soho traded hands for $18.7 million in a 1031 exchange. John Dee Corp. purchased the recently-renovated four-story, mixed-use building from A.M. Properties and Quality Capital. The sellers acquired the 6,700-square-foot building, located between West Broadway and Wooster streets, for $4.9 million in 2013.

2.) Uzi Ben Abraham and Yaron Jacobi’s Premier Equities purchased a commercial condo in the 12-story mixed-use building at 583 Broadway for $16 million. The 4,200-square-foot unit is one of two retail units in the Soho building, which includes tenants like Under Armour and contains 23 apartments. BMH Associates is the seller.

3.) Italian manufacturer SICIS North America purchased a Bronx warehouse at 150 Bruckner Boulevard for $14 million and is planning a renovation of the two-story building. The company, through its real estate holding company, Bianca USA Real Estate, Inc., requested subsidies through the New York City Industrial Development Agency in January to help it acquire the property and invest $1.2 million in renovations. The seller, BNS Real Estate, paid $5 million for the property in 2006.

4.) A 47-unit apartment building at 855 Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood sold for $13.4 million. An entity, whose president is listed as Arnold Simon, purchased the six-story residential building from Park & Coast II, LLC. The property spans 57,000 square feet and last traded for $7.6 million in 2011.

5.) In East Harlem, a mixed-use building traded for $12 million. An entity listed as 2085 Lexington LLC purchased the 36-unit building at 2085 Lexington Avenue, also known as 142-144 East 12th Street. The building’s ground floor holds over 5,000 square feet of retail space across six units. Another 30,000 square feet of the building is residential. The seller is 2085 Lex Operating Corp.

6.) The Episcopal Diocese of New York sold a pair of adjacent townhouses at 324 West 108th Street for $11.7 million. The five-story Upper West Side properties are currently vacant and are poised for renovation, although the buyers, W 108 Development LLC, have yet to file alteration permits. Located between Riverside Drive and West End Avenue, the elevator buildings are just over 14,000 square feet and was delivered with an additional 3,500 square feet of air rights.

7.) The developers behind the planned 21-story residential building at 9 East 30th Street paid $10 million for the development site. Castellan Real Estate Partners, with assistance from the New York City Partnership Housing Development Fund Company, will build a 21,000-square-foot building with 19 affordable studios and one market-rate unit. Kossar + Garry Architects is designing the skinny Midtown building. Armed Import Export Corp. sold the vacant land.

(Source: ACRIS data for closed sales between 3/9 t/o 3/15, PropertyShark data) – See more at:

Ashkenazy, Centurion snag retail at Nolita condo for $40M

Duo buys three-level space from Richard Hadar that’s home to NYPL branch, American Apparel

Ben Ashkenazy’s Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation and Ralph Tawil’s Centurion Realty jointly paid $40 million for a three-level retail condominium at the base of a nine-story apartment building in Nolita, The Real Deal has learned.

The 30,000-square-foot retail component at 285 Lafayette Street — near Jersey Street and just south of Jared Kushner’s Puck Building – is home to seven tenants. The New York Public Library’s Mulberry Street branch occupies 16,100 square feet across three floors, under a lease deal expiring in 2021. Other tenants include cosmetics retailer Santa Maria Novella and clothier American Apparel, which is due to vacate its 7,000-square-foot space by early next year.

Matthew Marshall of Marshall Real Estate represented both the buyers and the seller, veteran developer Richard Hadar of Richard Hadar Funding.

Ashkenazy is planning a long-term hold on the retail spaces, Daniel Levy, partner at the development firm, told TRD.

Several national tenants expressed interest in American Apparel’s space while the deal was in contract, Levy said. Ashkenazy and Centurion signed a contract in May. The deal closed today.

Allied Partners, led by Richard Hadar’s son Eric Hadar, converted the loft building into condominiums in 1999. The nearly 118,000-square-foot structure holds 30 apartments. Character actor Saul Rubinek sold his three-bedroom home in the building over the summer, as TRD reported.

Ashkenazy and Centurion recently did a deal together in which Ashkenazy acquired two retail buildings near the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown from Centurion for $40 million, according to TRD.

See more at:

Great Neck firm set to spend $43M on summer retail splurge

By Rich Bockmann

A small retail-acquisition firm out of Great Neck, L.I.’s Persian real estate community had an active summer and is on track to spend $43 million on a handful of properties that it’s betting will command top dollar by the time their leases expire.

Earlier this week, Klosed Properties inked a deal to purchase a retail condo in Soho for $7 million, as the New York Observer reported at the time, and last week the company bought a pair of properties on Fulton Street near the South Street Seaport for $15 million.

Klosed President Steven Kachanian said the firm is in contract to purchase two more Manhattan properties, and that’s on top of the $13 million the company paid in June in two separate deals for a retail condo in FiDi and a mixed-use property near Times Square.

All in all, Klosed has completed 11 deals this year, including some national triple-net properties.

“We typically do around eight to 12 deals a year,” said Kachanian, who is a distant relative of Zar Poperties’ David Zar. “This has been a particularly good year.”

At 202 Spring Street in SoHo, a Spa Belles nail salon occupies the 2,200 square foot space with a lease set to expire in 2016.

“They’re paying a fraction of where the market is now,” said Kachanian, who added that area rents are in the $250 to $300 per-square-foot range. “We’re confident that in the next two years the market could be in the mid-to-high threes.”

Klosed was repped in the off-market deal by Camelot Realty Group’s David Goldoff, whose father and uncle owned the building.

At 46-50 Fulton Street, Klosed now owns a retail condo and a four-story building sitting on the street that will be bookended by the Fulton Center Mall and the revitalized South Street Seaport.

The company was represented in that off-market deal by Matt Marshall of the Marshall Real Estate brokerage, who said the largest tenant, a McDonald’s restaurant covering about 5,000 feet, has a lease set to expire in 2020.

“[Klosed] won’t really be able to capitalize on the value there for another five or six years,” he said. “Actually, that may coincide very well with the redevelopment of the Seaport, so the timing for it is pretty good.”

Back in June, the firm partnered with Namdar to buy a retail condo at the base of a 24-story office building at 80 John Street for $7 million, as well as a five-story, mixed-use building at 144 West 46th Street near Times Square. Kachanian said the current tenant, a Chinese restaurant, will vacate soon and the company is looking to bring in an Irish pub for a long-term lease for the building’s 3,000 square foot retail space.

WSA Equities’ John Street Retail Condo Picked up for $7M

By Lauren Elkies Schram

William Achenbaum‘s WSA Equities today closed on the $7 million sale of a roughly 8,000-square-foot retail condominium at South Star, at 80 John StreetCommercial Observer has learned.

Klosed Properties and Namdar Realty Group bought the Financial District condo “because of the visibility, price per foot, the yield was reasonable and there is upside,” said Steven Kachanian, a principal at Klosed Properties, which owns nearby properties.

The condo is occupied by UFC Gym, which has 6,500 square feet for another 10 years, and a dry cleaners, which has 1,500 until the end of the year, the latter with an option to renew at market rate. Both tenants pay below market rate rents. The property has 150 feet of wraparound frontage.

Garden City, N.Y.-based WSA converted the apartment building, at the corner of Gold Street, from rental to condo in 2006 and renamed it South Star. WSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Kachanian said it was an off-market deal involving one broker, who he declined to identify.

Jacobi pays $25M for Soho retail space

The space at the base of a luxury loft development in Soho has traded for $25 million, the broker handling the transaction told The Real Deal.

Investor Yaron Jacobi nabbed the basement and first two floors of 151 Wooster, just south of Houston, in an off-market deal, according to Matthew Marshall, of Marshall Real Estate, who brokered the transaction for both seller and buyer.

The seller was Michael Namer’s Alfa Development, which developed the 15 luxury units above the 15,200-square-foot retail component. The reason for the sale was likely to free up resources to focus on residential development, Marshall said. “Owning retail is not part of [Alfa’s] business plan,” he said.

Jacobi, an investor and sometimes-partner to billionaire real estate tycoon Ron Burkle, has made other, similar purchases in the area, such as the 13,700-square-foot condo at 57-63 Greene Street. He “saw an opportunity, probably because of [the tenants paying] under-market rent,” Marshall said.

Demand for retail condos, especially in Soho and other corridors that appeal to tourists, has been on the rise of late, as The Real Deal has reported.

“Soho is a unique market in the sense that it is so confined and defined by a few block radius,” Marshall added.
Cassina USA, an Italian furniture maker, occupies one ground-floor retail space and the commercial space on the second floor, Marshall said. The other retail space is occupied by Desiron, another furniture purveyor, whose lease will expire next year.