David Bistricer’s Clipper to pay $103M for E. Harlem rental

Developer’s acquisition of 1955 First Ave. slated for a new REIT
By E.B. Solomont | January 05, 2016 02:31PM

UPDATED: Jan. 6, 1:42 p.m.: David Bistricer’s Clipper Realty is in contract to buy an East Harlem rental building for approximately $103 million, as it seeks approval from the government for a new real estate investment trust, the developer tells The Real Deal.

The Aspen, a 232-unit building at 1955 First Avenue, has 16,000 square feet of retail at its base. Half of the building’s residential units are market rate, 30 percent are reserved for middle-income tenants and 20 percent are designated affordable.

Ariel Property Advisors’ Shimon Shkury and Victor Sozio represented the seller, a joint venture known as 100 Street Tri Venture LLC that includes L&M Development Partners, BFC Partners and River Equities.

Bistricer said Clipper plans to maintain the Aspen as a rental property. The eight-story building, completed in 2004, was constructed on what was previously a city-owned site.

The acquisition will be made through Bistricer’s forthcoming REIT, Clipper Realty Inc, which is awaiting final approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission. In August, the developer sought to raise $144 million to fund “strategic, value-add” investments, Bistricer told TRD at the time. On Tuesday, Bistricer declined to say how much had been raised, citing a “quiet period” before the SEC declares the REIT’s registration statement effective.

The REIT’s board includes Robert Ivanhoe, chair of the global real estate practice at Greenberg Traurig, Howard Lorber, chair of Douglas Elliman and CEO of its publicly-traded parent company, Vector Group, and Robert Verrone, founder of real estate finance advisory firm Iron Hound.

The pickup of 1955 First Avenue is Clipper’s first big move since beginning the process to form the REIT.

Located between 100th and 101st streets, the building is surrounded by a slew of new condominium buildings rising on the East Side between Third Avenue and the East River. There are close to 900 condo units being developed on the booming Upper East Side, according to Halstead Property Development Marketing.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the neighborhood where the building is located. It is East Harlem.