The Real Deal New York

Ashkenazy nabs Soho retail condo for $10M

By Guelda Voien | October 15, 2013 03:30PM

Ashkenazy Acquisition, the Midtown-based real estate firm headed by young mogul Ben Ashkenazy, snapped up a prime Soho retail condominium, a broker involved with the deal told The Real Deal.

Pittsburgh-based landlord and developer Costa Land sold the corner property, the ground floor of 145 Greene Street, at Houston Street, for $9.75 million in an off-market transaction, according to broker David Schechtman. Schechtman and his Eastern Consolidated colleagues Lipa Lieberman and Abie Kassin represented both sides in the deal.

The nearly 3,000-square-foot property currently houses the café chain Aroma Espresso Bar.

The sale price pencils out to $4,000 per square foot, well above the median price for commercial condos in the area, which is $1,824 per square foot, according to PropertyShark.

Retail condos have come into their own as an asset class in recent years, as The Real Deal has previously reported.

One reason for the continued popularity of investing in retail condos is that owners don’t have to do any hands-on management of the properties — unlike with multi-family or office buildings that typically come with multiple tenants — and taxes are traditionally passed on to tenants, he said.

“It’s easier to be an absentee owner,” of a retail condo, Schechtman said.

Costa founder and chairman Alfonso Costa said he took the off-market offer from Ashkenazy because the price allowed him to recoup “a substantial return on my investment.”

Costa bought the unit in 2008 for $6.5 million, according to city records.

Ashekenazy executives were not immediately available for comment.

Ashkenazy has been on a buying spree recently.

In August, the firm paid $14 million for a 5,800-square-foot Upper East Side building, which comes with 12,261 square feet of unused air rights. The property’s 1,400-square-foot retail space is currently occupied by the Mediterranean restaurant Amaranth. In November 2012, the company acquired a two-story retail building at 1042 Madison Avenue and a pair of retail properties on West 146th and West 147th streets in Harlem.