Bronx pol has two connections to our weekly deals list

Mid-market investment trades included sellers with ties to Mark Gjonaj

TRD New York /
Dec.December 23, 2019 08:00 AM
Clockwise from left: 23 Peck Slip, 535 Zerega Avenue in Castle Hill, and 1181 Sherman Avenue in the South Bronx with Mark Gjonaj (Credit: Google Maps, Facebook)

Clockwise from left: 23 Peck Slip, 535 Zerega Avenue in Castle Hill, and 1181 Sherman Avenue in the South Bronx with Mark Gjonaj (Credit: Google Maps, Facebook)

The five mid-market investment deals made public in New York City last week included two with an indirect connection to City Council member Mark Gjonaj. In one, his brother Paul Gjonaj sold a Bronx multifamily building for about $12.5 million. In the other, Steven Squitieri, who according to Crain’s once co-owned a City Island restaurant with Paul Gjonaj, sold a Bronx warehouse for $28.5 million. Simone Development, led by Joseph Simone, a major figure in Bronx real estate and heavy donor to political candidates in the borough, was also a seller in that deal.

Squitieri is better known for his former role in the commercial waste-hauling industry. The Squitieri family’s Sanitation Salvage was the subject of a ProPublica exposé that helped persuade the City Council to overhaul that industry. Before that legislation passed, Mark Gjonaj introduced a bill offering a more modest reform — one seen as favorable to family-owned carting businesses. But the bill went nowhere and the Squitieris closed their carting operation after the ProPublica stories.

ProPublica reported that the Squitieri family has donated heavily to Mark Gjonaj’s political campaigns and that John Squitieri — Steven’s brother — was president of Gjonaj’s political club, the Northwest Bronx Democrats.

Here were the five investment sales of $10 million to $30 million last week:

    1. The Blackstone Group bought a one-story warehouse in the Bronx that recently snagged Krispy Kreme as a tenant. The private equity giant dropped $28.5 million on 535 Zerega Avenue in Castle Hill, property records show. The sellers were Simone Development Companies and an entity managed by Steven Squitieri.
    2. A pair of LLCs purchased 23 Peck Slip in the Financial District for $24.5 million. The mixed-use building stands six stories tall with 20 residential units and four commercial units across about 26,000 square feet. The firms purchased the building from 257 Water Street LLC. The LLCs for the buyer and seller may be connected, as all three list their address as the second floor of 7 Mercer Street.
    3. Rogers Management purchased a one-story medical office building at 425 Coney Island Avenue in Flatbush for $16 million. The real estate company bought it from an LLC linked to New Jersey resident Abraham Brodt. The building spans 19,500 square feet.
    4. Paul Gjonaj, brother of Bronx Council member Mark Gjonaj, sold 1181 Sherman Avenue in the South Bronx to a Borough Park-based LLC for about $12.5 million. The six-story apartment building contains 43 units across roughly 31,000 square feet. The deed lists Paul Gjonaj as the sole member of the seller, Group Gjonaj LLC.
    5. A trio of LLCs linked to the law firm Yung & Associates bought 135-07 Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing for $12 million from Double Sun Realty Corp. The property is a one-story commercial building.

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