Forest Hills property owner nabs LES development site from beer magnate for $21M

Plans call for a LES rental building called "Alphabet Plaza" with retail on the ground floor

Queens-based property owner and management firm Kahen Properties has purchased a 130,000-square-foot development site at the border of the East Village and Lower East Side for $21 million, or approximately $190 per buildable square foot, according to public records filed with the city, and is planning to spend another $30 million to develop the site into a luxury rental building.

Kahen Properties, founded by Majid Kahen 30 years ago, purchased the site at East 2nd Street and Avenue D from beer magnate Simon Bergson, president and CEO of Manhattan Beer Distributors, the largest single-market beer distributor in the U.S.

The Dec. 22 deal for the site, which is comprised of six assembled lots at 5-9 Avenue D and 306-310 East 2nd Street, was brokered by Joseph Arnold Smith, Gary Nowak and Joel Radmin of Friedman-Roth Realty Services.

“Bergson assembled sites over a 40-year period,” Smith said, and had planned his own development, which did not come to fruition.

Kahen Properties is planning to break ground on its new 12-story, 135-unit rental within two months, Kahen said, with a completion date in 2014. The building, which will include some affordable units as part of the 80/20 program, will have a doorman, rooftop terrace, gym and outdoor space.

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Units at the building, to be named “Alphabet Plaza,” will range from 500 square feet to 1,000 square feet in size and $2,500 to $3,600 in price,  Kahen said.

The company is currently in negotiations with a national tenant to occupy all 10,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor of the property, he added, declining to provide further details.

“We own a few buildings in Alphabet City,” he said, explaining the company’s interest in the lot, “but no new developments. The East Village is an up and coming area. People want to live there.”

Avinash K. Malhotra Architects, a Manhattan-based firm, designed the building, for which renderings are not yet available.

Bergson was not immediately available for comment.