Centurion Realty has been buying up Soho properties in recent months, but this time around the Flushing, Queens-based firm is trimming its holdings in the coveted neighborhood. Led by Ralph Tawil, Centurion Realty sold a five-story, mixed-use building at 5-7 Mercer Street for $16.5 million, more than double the purchase price in 2007, according to property records filed today.
Tawil bought the 21,000-square-foot walk-up property near Howard Street for $7 million. The site is fully leased, with nine rental units and a retail space housing the first New York City store of Irish fashion designer Orla Kiely.
The ground-floor retail space formerly held an art gallery.
“This was a one-off sale,” Tawil told The Real Deal. “We’re very bullish on Soho, because it’s an area that continues to attract attention and there’s a lot of business to be had.”
Centurion has been on a buying tear in Soho this year, having acquired 415 West Broadway for $41 million, teaming up with Imperium Capital to buy 40 Mercer Street for $80 million, and partnering with Imperium and Crown Acquisitions to pick up 120 Prince Street for $20 million, as The Real Deal reported.
Harold Sutton of Centurion served as leasing agent on the property. It was built in 1910 and designed by Joseph Pell Lombardi Architects.
The buyer, Mercer II LLC, shares a Park Avenue office address with Amerindo Investment Advisors, a now-defunct investment firm run by billionaire fraudster Alberto Vilar.
Vilar was indicted in 2005 on charges of defrauding actress Phoebe Cates’ mother of more than $5 million and using some of her money to make donations. He was convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison. Vilar could not be reached for comment.
Tawil said he was unsure of the buyer’s plans for the building.