Another Charity Row property for sale, may fetch $100M

"Moment is now" to sell United Charities Building, board member says

Mar.March 27, 2014 02:20 PM

The United Charities Building, one of the last Charity Row holdouts along a stretch of Park Avenue South that is turning increasingly residential, is on the market and expected to fetch over $100 million.

Marketed as a residential conversion, the building at 287 Park Avenue South is 50 percent-owned by the Community Service Society of New York and 50 percent-owned by the Children’s Aid Society and New York City Mission Society, which each hold 25 percent stakes. The oldest of the three, the Mission Society, has been in operation since 1812.

“The moment is now,” Dan Lehman, secretary of UCB’s board and chief financial officer of Children’s Aid, told the Wall Street Journal. “Our organizations no longer feel the strong, compelling operational need we once had to be headquartered on Charity Row when we can realize exceptional value from our real estate.”

The groups tapped Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Capital Markets to market the property, inking an agreement to put the 110,000-square-foot building on the block on March 21. The building could also host a 30,000-square-foot addition, as the 130-foot tall property is permitted to stretch up to 210 feet high thanks to area zoning.

New York City’s “munificence and benevolence,” as charities were dubbed in the late 19th century, once clustered around a central hub — a model that is now out-of-date, David Jones, president and chief executive of the Community Services Society, told the Journal. “I’m holding cubicles and corner offices open for social workers who aren’t there anymore because they’re out in the field assisting people one to one,” he told the paper.

Other area nonprofits making their exit are the Xavier Society for the Blind, which sold its 154 East 23rd Street headquarters to Omnia Group in December for $9 million, and United Cerebral Palsy of New York City, which is selling its 122 East 23rd Street home to Toll Brothers for $135 million.

For the moment, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, located across the street from UCB at 281 Park Avenue South, is one of Charity Row’s last holdouts. The nonprofit did not discuss any plans to sell with the Journal. [WSJ]Julie Strickland

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