The Real Deal New York

Auto group spends $31M to expand along gritty stretch of LIC

Bay Ridge Auto now owns two adjacent properties covering more than three acres
By Rich Bockmann | November 26, 2018 06:15PM

An aerial view of 39-04 Northern Boulevard in Long Island City (Credit: Google Maps)

The family that runs one of the city’s biggest auto-dealership empires is upgrading to some more legroom.

The Bay Ridge Auto Group paid $31 million to buy the site of a gas station in Long Island City that sits next to its Lexus Dealership on Northern Boulevard. When combined, the two properties span more than three acres, and could one day be developed into a commercial property almost as big as 700,000 square feet.

The dealership group, which operates 21 car lots in New York and New Jersey, closed a little more than a week ago on the site of the Speedway gas station at 39-04 Northern Boulevard, property records filed with the Friday city show.

Representatives for Bay Ridge Auto and the seller, Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Andrew Sasson and Chad Sinsheimer at Ackman-Ziff marketed the property for the seller, and declined to comment on the deal.

Marathon Petroleum’s Speedway unit acquired the property in 2014 when it paid $2.87 billion to buy the Hess Corporation’s 1,256 retail locations spread out across 16 states. Sources said Marathon decided to sell the property because the real estate has become more valuable than the gas-pumping business.

The deal was a rare opportunity for Bay Ridge Auto Group to snap up a piece of real estate next door to its Long Island City Lexus dealership at a time when the family-run company was flush with cash.

The company, founded by Sicilian immigrant Carmelo Giuffre, owns the property next door at 40-40 Northern Boulevard, which it purchased in 2005 for $13.5 million.

Bay Ridge Auto purchased the Speedway site via a 1031 exchange with the proceeds from the $93.12 million sale of its Lexus location on the Far West side at 646 11th Avenue in June to CBSK Ironstate, which is planning a residential condominium development at the site. The company in September also bought a pair of properties in the Bronx at 242-250 West Fordham Road Bronx in September for $5 million, property records show.

The Northern Boulevard properties sit along a still-gritty stretch of Long Island City dominated by dealerships and other auto-service businesses. The pair is zoned M1-5, which allows for certain kinds of commercial developments like office use.

And while some developers along the stretch have gone for rezonings to allow for residential plays, sources said that if the Bay Ridge Auto Group decides one day to develop the sites, they’ll probably go for some type of commercial use.

Giuffre in August listed his Italian-inspired Brooklyn home in Bay Ridge for $15 million. If the property were to close at the full asking price, it would be the borough’s third-most expensive home.

The Speedway property sale was the first deal Sasson and Sinsheimer closed since joining Ackman-Ziff after Eastern Consolidated closed this summer.