The Real Deal New York

Durst buys Clock Tower site in LIC for about $175M

Developer planning massive rental project at site purchased from PMG, Hakim
By Mark Maurer and Katherine Clarke | December 15, 2016 06:24PM

Renderings of Queens Plaza Park in Long Island City and Douglas Durst

UPDATED, Dec. 19, 12:20 p.m.: The Durst Organization bought the Clock Tower development site in Long Island City from Property Markets Group and Hakim Organization for about $175 million, The Real Deal has learned. Durst plans to build one of the neighborhood’s biggest rental projects on the site, which allows for a project of about 1 million square feet.

The sellers had sought to develop an 800-unit project – two-thirds rentals, one-third condos – on the vast Queensboro Plaza site at 29-37 41st Avenue. But this summer, the firms opted to put the undeveloped land on the market with HFF. The project was slated to Be Called Queens Plaza Park.

Hakim chief Kamran Hakim confirmed the deal, saying Durst went into contract and closed on the purchase on the same day in a deal for roughly $175 per buildable square foot.

“They are a good developer that can take better advantage of the site,” Hakim said. “It was too big for us.”

PMG and Hakim had proposed a joint venture, but Durst insisted on going solo, sources said. Durst is also developing the Hallets Point megaproject in Astoria, and has been vying for an RFP from the city’s Economic Development Corporation to develop two Long Island City waterfront sites across 4.5 acres.

A spokesperson for Durst did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while representatives for PMG declined to comment.

HFF’s Andrew Scandalios, Christopher Peck, Eric Anton, Rob Hinckley and Jeff Julien, who brokered the deal, declined to comment.

PMG and Hakim paid a total of at least $133 million, or about $133 a foot, for the site. PMG bought a large portion of the assemblage for $46.3 million in 2014, then the Clock Tower site for $30.9 million later that year. Last year, the firm paid $49 million to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for multiple parcels, and an additional $6.7 million for air rights.

Elsewhere in the neighborhood, PMG and Hakim are continuing to develop a 44-story residential tower at 23-10 Queens Plaza South with Howard Lorber’s New Valley. That project was originally slated to be condos, but will now be rentals.

Rich Bockmann contributed reporting.

Correction: A previous version of this story said the deal was all-cash. M&T Bank, in fact, provided a loan.