Rockefeller extends assemblage on West 48th Street

By Adam Pincus | November 10, 2008 01:27PM

The Rockefeller Group Development Corporation paid $62.5 million for a six-story garage at 148 West 48th Street, dramatically increasing its holdings on a stretch east of Seventh Avenue near Times Square.

The approximately 48,700-square-foot garage, on a 75-foot by 100-foot lot, is next to a building that Rockefeller Group controls through a 99-year lease executed in April. The garage site has a development potential of 90,373 square feet, according to PropertyShark.

The contract for the garage purchase from Sun Garage Company was signed in April and the sale was finalized October 20, according to city property records published last week.

A spokeswoman for the Rockefeller Group would not confirm that the company was involved in the purchase, but said the developer had been assembling parcels in the area for years.

In the short term, the newly purchased site could remain as a parking garage.

The Rockefeller Group executed a 10-year lease at the same time as the sale of 148 West 48th Street, with Chap-Sun Parking, records showed.

Robert Knakal, chairman of brokerage Massey Knakal Realty Services, who was not involved with the sale, said the price appeared to be too steep for just a garage.

“The price of the property would not be justified by a parking use only,” he commented in an e-mail. “There must be additional benefits the buyer is receiving in order to justify the price that was paid. These could consist of the development rights the property possesses or the ability to use the site as a conduit to complete a zoning lot merger with rights from an adjacent property.”

With the recent purchase, the developer controls four parcels with 160 feet of frontage along the south side of West 48th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues. It holds a 99-year lease on the neighboring parcel at 156 West 48th Street. In August it paid $33.4 million for the lease to an adjacent building at 162-164 West 48th Street and in May it bought 160 West 48th Street, according to the seller of the lease and property records.

Rockefeller Group also controls 80 feet of mid-block frontage on 47th Street, abutting its land on 48th Street, through the $75 million purchase of 157 West 47th Street in May, property records indicate.

Rockefeller Group has experience with amassing neighboring properties. The company built the former Lehman Brothers headquarters at 745 Seventh Avenue between 49th and 50th streets after a lengthy assemblage period.