UPDATED, Dec. 22, 11:21 a.m.: Property Markets Group and the Hakim Organization – the partners behind what’s planned to be Queens’ tallest skyscraper – have teamed up again to buy a dispatch garage from a member of the city’s “cabbie cartel” in Long Island City for $69 million.
The development partners closed last week on the purchase of 42-50 24th Street in The Queens Plaza section of the neighborhood from yellow-cab fleet owner Ronald Sherman’s Midtown Operating Corp., sources tell The Real Deal.
The site, which sits just about a block away from The Queens Plaza property the partners are developing into a 44-story rental tower, holds roughly 270,000 buildable square feet, which makes the $69 million purchase price work out to approximately $254 per buildable square foot.
Neither Kevin Maloney’s PMG nor Sherman responded to requests for comment. The deal was highly levered, with G4 Capital Partners and Terra Capital Partners providing $65.6 million in bridge and mezzanine debt arranged by a team led by Jason Cohen at Mission Capital Advisors.
Sherman, who reportedly owns about 200 taxi medallions, is president of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, an industry group that represents companies that control some 40 percent of the city’s cabs.
Not only does he run his own fleet, but Sherman, a third-generation hack, also owns a company that puts touchscreen displays in about half of the city’s cabs, which helps him rake in tens of millions of dollars worth of credit card fees each year, according to Crain’s.
He and other fleet owners, known as the “cabbie cartel,” were the biggest donors to then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s successful mayoral campaign two years ago.
Despite the political ties, however, the taxi lobby suffered a major blow in its fight with ride-sharing apps such as Uber when the de Blasio administration this summer dropped plans to put a temporary cap on new licenses available to ride share companies.
The headquarters for another of Sherman’s firms, a taxi tech consultancy called Creative Mobile Technologies, is headquartered in the neighborhood at 42-32 21st Street. Sherman converted the warehouse at that property to offices in 2014.
Meanwhile, toward the opposite end of Queensboro Plaza, PMG and Hakim are developing Queens Plaza Park, a 914-foot-tall residential tower that will set aside about a third of its 800 apartments as condos.
This post was updated to include information on the financing.