The Real Deal New York

Boy Scouts taps JLL to sell 120-acre SI rights

December 14, 2009 06:29PM
By Adam Pincus


From left: 20-acre Ohrbach Lake at Camp Pouch (Photo credit: Emily Schnure) and a rough outline of the property

The New York office of the Boy Scouts of America wants commercial services firm Jones Lang LaSalle to help negotiate the sale of the development rights — or the entire 120-acre property — composed of mostly undeveloped land in the tree-filled Greenbelt of Staten Island, a spokesperson for the non-profit organization told The Real Deal.

The Greater New York Councils, Boys Scouts of America, picked JLL to represent it in negotiations, but the brokerage has not yet signed a contract with the non-profit, he said.

The Boy Scouts is considering selling the development rights to William H. Pouch Camp — either a portion of the site or the whole parcel — as a way to raise much needed funds for the financially strapped organization, Boy Scouts spokesperson William Kelly said.

If the property is put on the market, it will likely be the largest listing in New York City today in terms of square feet, brokers said.

The Boy Scouts began conversations with the national conservation-focused non-profit Trust for Public Land about two weeks ago to arrange some kind of sale of the Pouch Camp land, Kelly said.

The preferred option was to create a conservation easement by selling the development rights, which would maintain the property as open space owned by the Scouts, a goal of the group since about 2005, Kelly said.

The property was valued at about $60 million in 2006, and the organization hopes to receive about half the market value through the sale of the development rights, Kelly said.

However, land prices have fallen by anywhere from 30 percent to 50 percent from their peak values in 2007, John Cicero, managing principal of commercial appraisal firm Miller Cicero, said.

If a deal cannot be struck to preserve the land as parkland, all or part of the property could be sold, Kelly said.

It has not yet been finalized how JLL would participate in negotiations on behalf of the Boys Scouts, whether as consultant, broker or a combination of services, Kelly said.

The New York state director of the Trust for Public Land, Leslie Wright, confirmed that her organization is in talks with the Boy Scouts to buy the development rights or the land.

The conservation group finances the purchase of land through government or private sources, Wright said.

JLL did not respond to a request for comment.

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