Keith Rubenstein plans to increase his already sizable footprint in the South Bronx by moving his company there.
Somerset Partners, which is planning a massive development with the Chetrit Group on the South Bronx waterfront, is moving its headquarters to the area, Rubenstein told The Real Deal. The firm’s office is currently located in the heart of Midtown at 450 Park Avenue.
The company signed a five-year lease for 3,000 square feet of space on the fourth floor of the Bruckner Building. The space should be ready in 30 to 45 days, he said. Until then, the firm will work out of a temporary space in the neighborhood at 2413 Third Avenue.
“We love the space, love the building,” Rubenstein said, “and we’re doing so much up here, we thought it would be a good idea to relocate here and be here all the time.”
The Bruckner Building is located at 2417 Third Avenue, extremely close to Somerset Partners’ and the Chetrit Group’s massive waterfront project at 2401 Third Avenue and 101 Lincoln Avenue. The seven-building complex is expected to contain 1,300 rental units, and the companies are in the market for a construction loan of up to $500 million for it.
The project will be broken down into two 25-story buildings and one 16-story building at 2401 Third Avenue, along with three 24-story buildings and one 22-story building at 101 Lincoln Avenue. Construction is expected to wrap up late in 2019.
Rubenstein has already established a strong presence in the South Bronx’s Mott Haven neighborhood, supporting new businesses including the Italian restaurant La Grata, the café Filtered Coffee, the art gallery and fashion boutique 9J, and the boxing gym SouthBoX, which occupies the same building where Somerset will have its temporary space. He plans to open a food hall in the neighborhood as well.
The waterfront project attracted a fair amount of controversy about two years ago when the development team put up a billboard advertising that the “Piano District” was coming soon to the South Bronx, which some residents interpreted as an attempt to rebrand the neighborhood. The developers have since taken down the billboard.
Somerset used to own 450 Park Avenue but sold it to Crown Acquisitions and Oxford Properties Group in 2014 for about $545 million. The Bruckner Building is owned by Hornig Capital Partners and Savanna, which closed on the property in 2015 for roughly $30.6 million, according to city records.
Rubenstein and Daren Hornig, managing partner of Hornig Capital, declined to say how much Somerset would pay for the space, although Hornig described it as “market rent.” Other tenants include the recording studio Polo Ground and the drone company Duro. Horning said he was thrilled to add Somerset and Rubenstein to this list.
“He could be anywhere, literally, in New York,” he said, “and he chose the Bruckner Building.”