Howard Hughes adds to Seaport fiefdom with 85 South buy

Centurion sells rentals for $20M – double what it paid in 2004

From left: 85 South Street in Financial District, Howard Hughes CEO David Weinreb, Ralph Tawil and Seaport rendering
From left: 85 South Street in Financial District, Howard Hughes CEO David Weinreb, Ralph Tawil and Seaport rendering

Texas-based real estate development firm Howard Hughes Corporation picked up another site in the Financial District’s South Street Seaport historic district – this time, an eight-story rental property at 85 South Street.

Ralph Tawil’s Centurion Realty sold the 54,000-square-foot building last week for $20 million – double what the firm paid in 2004. The property, between Fletcher and John streets, holds 24 apartments and a ground-floor retail space occupied by high-end dog daycare and spa Fetch Club.

The off-market deal does not include air rights. Queens-based Cord Meyer Development acquired the 60,000 square feet in air rights for $12 million in 2008. Including those rights, the site offers 114,000 buildable square feet, records show.

As of January, the estimated annual retail revenue at 85 South Street was $135,407, according to The Real Deal‘s analysis of Syrian Jewish investment in New York City retail.

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The building sits roughly two blocks south of South Street Seaport, which Howard Hughes is redeveloping to include a 50-story, 300,000-square-foot condo-hotel tower next to Pier 17. Earlier this year, Cord Meyer entered contract to sell an 8,128-square-foot parcel at 80 South Street to Howard Hughes, as previously reported.

Representatives of Howard Hughes declined to comment on whether the firm has specific development plans for 85 South Street.

“The Howard Hughes Corporation is committed to revitalizing the iconic South Street Seaport district,” a spokesperson for Howard Hughes said in a statement. “Our immediate priority is the rebuilding of Pier 17 — bringing exceptional shopping, dining, culture and entertainment retail back to the storied district – and advancing our proposed mixed-use project with its vital investments in this amazing neighborhood.”

Meanwhile, Centurion has been selling off some of its assets across Manhattan. Last week, the Tawil family sold two retail buildings in Midtown for $40 million, as TRD reported.

“Now that these latest sales are behind us, we are looking forward to announcing new additions to Our High Street retail portfolio in the near future,” Tawil said.