Don Peebles enters NYC market with public-private partnerships

Don Peebles
Don Peebles

The Peebles Corporation, one of the nation’s largest African-American-owned development firms, is using public-private real estate development partnerships to get its feet wet in the New York City market, founder CEO Don Peebles told The Real Deal last month.

Partnering with city- or state-run agencies to develop new properties on government-owned land allows the company to compete for big development parcels, he said.

“The public-private deals allow you to enter a market,” Peebles said, noting that a developer can quickly get to know New York City political players and zoning and land use procedures through collaborations with government agencies. Once a developer has made it through a public-private project, it’s much easier to approach a private development, he said.

Earlier this year, the city selected Peebles to reposition a landmarked 400,000-square-foot building at 346 Broadway in Tribeca.

After a yearlong application and proposal process, the company is gearing up to officially take title to the property for $160 million, with plans to transform the building into condos and a hotel.

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Peebles is also waiting to hear if he has been selected to redevelop a BP gas station site on 110th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Upper Manhattan. The New York City Economic Development Corporation sought proposals in 2012 to build on the 13,500-square-foot space at 2040 Frederick Douglass Boulevard. If Peebles wins the assignment, the company would develop an 80,000-square-foot residential condominium property with large residences ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet.

Peebles is also bidding on two other city-owned sites in the five boroughs, one of which is close to 346 Broadway, he told The Real Deal.

Peebles is not the only developer teaming up with the city. Mammoth new projects like the Related Companies’ Hudson Yards and Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards projects are both public-private partnerships.

“The transformational projects are all public-private,” Peebles said. “That’s where the land is.”