Investors close deals, plan changes along Manhattan’s 34th Street

Along the retail thoroughfare, it's been a busy summer for deals

The well-trafficked corridor that is Manhattan’s 34th Street has seen a spate of closings in recent weeks.

A group of investors led by Ira Fishman and Dana Moskowitz of ID Real Estate Partners closed on two long-term land leases on 34th Street, according to Chris Okada of Okada & Company, who brokered the deal on behalf of ID. Details of the net lease, including the length of the lease and price per square foot, were not disclosed. The land owner is Sol Goldman Investments, which was represented in house by Brett Weinblatt. The buildings, at 41 and 45 West 34th Street, which together total 102,000 square feet, are home to retailers Steve Madden and Levi’s, respectively, but the deal only included the office portion of the two properties. Weinblatt declined to comment on the deal.

The new owners plan to gut renovate the buildings and re-introduce them as office spaces, Fishman said.

The upper floors of the building had been neglected under the previous leaseholder, he said, and need to be revamped. ID is set to begin work on the façade of the building as well as the lobby and corridors within the next four to six weeks. Renovations are slated to be completed within two years.

Fishman said the building will offer office spaces in a range of sizes — from 1,000 square feet to 11,000 square feet. He added that the building may even be able to lure tenants away from the nearby Empire State building, which has been focusing on larger leases.

“For the last five or six years, this space hasn’t really been in play,” Fishman said. “[But] we believe 34th Street is a major thoroughfare, a major destination.”

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NYRE Associates, a private investment partnership, has also sold a prospective development site at 62–64 East 34th Street for $13 million, The Real Deal learned today. The site, which is currently home to a five-story, 18,680-square-foot elevator building, “has enormous upside because of its unused air rights and current zoning, which would allow for hotel, residential, commercial, or community development,” according to Shimon Shkury, president of Ariel Property Advisors, who represented the seller in the deal.

Shkury, Victor Sozio and Michael Tortorici also represented the buyer, a private investor attracted to the property because of its current cash flow and future development potential, they said.

“This property is one of the last remaining undeveloped sites along this section of East 34th Street,” Shkury said.  “After our firm began marketing the site in January, it immediately attracted interest from more than a dozen multifamily and retail developers.”

The building, which has more than 43 feet of frontage along 34th Street, generates cash flow from three leased retail spaces — two on the ground floor and a third on the second floor, and 13 apartments — 10 market priced and three rent stabilized, according to Ariel.

In other 34th Street-related news, the New York Public Library recently sold five floors of a Madison Avenue building at East 34th Street for $60.8 million, according to the New York Post. The floors were purchased by the Church Pension Group, which will use the space as its headquarters, The Real Deal previously reported.