N.J. firm pays $18M for Whitestone shopping center

[Updated at 9:08 p.m. with comment from A&P] Woodbridge, N.J.-based real estate investment firm Onyx Equities paid $17.6 million for a 60,519-square-foot shopping center in Whitestone anchored by a Waldbaum grocery store.

Onyx bought the property at 153-01 10th Avenue from an affiliate of California-based ABA Partners Dec. 27 after going into contract May 18, city property records published today show.

Waldbaum leases about 51,825 square feet of the shopping center, which includes additional tenants such as Astoria Federal Savings, as well as 248 parking spaces, data from data firm CoStar Group shows.

The neighborhood could be in for additional change. Massey Knakal Realty Services is marketing an 18-acre site adjacent to the shopping center fronting the East River with city approval for 52 single-family residential parcels.

In 2004, Waldbaum sold the shopping center to an affiliate of Cardinal Capital Partners, based in Dallas, in a sale-leaseback arrangement, for $14.2 million. That lease extends to 2024, with additional options until 2053, city property records show. In 2010, California-based ABA Partners bought the asset for $17.65 million, city records show.

Onyx’s acquisition is its first in New York City, the company’s website indicates. The firm owns about 3 million square feet of commercial space worth about $680 million, mostly in New Jersey but also in Pennsylvania and Long Island, including the 640,000-square-foot 1 Jericho Plaza and 2 Jericho Plaza, in Jericho, L.I., the company website says.

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Onyx did not respond to requests for comment. It was unclear if there were any brokers involved in the sale.

Kenneth Schuckman, a vice president at retail brokerage Schuckman Realty, based in Woodbury, L.I., who was not involved in the sale, called it a “value-add purchase.”

“This is a stable property in a highly dense area with limited competition,” Schuckman said. “I think the property, from what I know of it, has a tremendous future.”

An industry source who asked not to be identified speculating on Onyx’s plans, said it may have bought the property with the hope of replacing Waldbaum with another, higher-paying tenant. Waldbaum is owned by the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, known as A&P, and based in Montvale, N.J.

A&P  told The Real Deal in a statement: “A&P has assumed the lease for our Waldbaum’s store in Whitestone, and the store continues to operate normally with the excellent products and service our customers expect.”