Joe Sitt’s son snaps up Canal Street ground lease for $14M

Jack Joseph Sitt and joint venture partner acquire property out of bankruptcy

New York /
May.May 12, 2014 08:12 PM

Jack Joseph Sitt, son of Thor Equities CEO Joe Sitt, partnered with the Canadian company Ruby Ventures to purchase a commercial ground lease at 335 Canal Street out of bankruptcy for $13.5 million.

The younger Sitt, founder of Midtown-based Colt Equities, formed a joint venture with Ruby Ventures, led in New York by Ilan Rubinstein, a managing partner, to purchase the site with an alternate address of 11 Greene Street, a spokesperson for Colt Equities told The Real Deal.

The property, which sits at the southern end of Soho, is owned by Sol Goldman Investments. The lease was assigned from the bankrupt Judo Associates to Sitt’s new entity, 11 Greene Street LLC on April 30 and recorded on Friday, city property records show.

According to documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, the lease extends to January 2059 as long as a new building is constructed by November 2019. If no building is built by that deadline, the lease runs only to November 2029.

The developers plan to construct a seven-story building with retail on the ground floor and lower level, and 30 rental units on floors two through six, as well as a partial mezzanine on the seventh floor.

The 13,090-square foot lot has 65 feet of frontage on Canal Street and 172 feet on Greene Street. The property has development rights for 65,450 square feet, data from PropertyShark shows.

The site is within the Soho-Cast Iron Landmark District. The owners filed an application this month for a new building on the parcel. The request has a hearing scheduled for May 20.

Colt Equities, with an address at Thor Equities’ offices at 25 West 39th Street, was formed in January, records filed with the state Secretary of State, show.

Ruby Ventures is a broad-based investment firm that is controlled by the Rubinstein family in Toronto. Ilan Rubinstein is a former principal with Ziel Feldman’s HFZ Capital Group.

The elder Sitt said in 2012 that he was interesting in investing on Canal Street, but has yet to do so. He is one of the city’s most active buyers of property in Soho.

Sitt is not the only one to Eye Canal Street, which is still known mostly as a strip for knockoff handbags and eyeglasses and as a highway between New Jersey and Brooklyn. Vornado Realty Trust Purchased 334 Canal Street in 2011 with an eye to improving the retail. And in November, George Comfort & Sons — in a joint venture with ASB Real Estate Investments — paid $61.9 million for 168 Canal Street.

Yet Retail On Canal Street has not grabbed the attention of a high-fashion store, even as similar brands have leased locations just a block or two north in Soho.

“Some people are banking on that transformation,” Jason Pruger, an executive managing director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Retail, said. He was not involved in this transaction. “It will take a pioneer to make that happen.”


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