Big-box SoBro bonanza? Ryms eyes national tenants for retail properties

Vanbarton Group to sell three-building Westchester Avenue package for $39M

1031-1049 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx (inset: Vanbarton's Richard Coles)
1031-1049 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx (inset: Vanbarton's Richard Coles)

The Vanbarton Group is in contract to sell a three-building South Bronx retail portfolio to Moshe and Saul Piller’s Ryms Realty Group for $39 million, The Real Deal has learned. And it looks like local mom-and-pop shops could be getting the boot.

The properties are all located along Westchester Avenue – two of them adjacent and in Longwood, and the other in Parkchester.

Walgreens anchors the one-story building at 1031-1049 Westchester Avenue, while a Chase Bank branch is the flagship tenant at a three-story property at 1051 Westchester Avenue. Further east, an H&R Block branch occupies a one-story structure at 1945-1955 Westchester Avenue. The package totals nearly 84,000 buildable square feet.

Ryms Realty plans to bring in two to three national tenants and push out some of the mom-and-pop stores, sources said. Bigger tenants such as Walgreens, which has about 20 years left on its lease, would remain.

Vanbarton, a Midtown East-based investment firm formerly known as Emmes Asset Management, paid $21.2 million for the adjacent buildings and $5.9 million for the the third one in 2013, records show.

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In the South Bronx, retail asking rents for stores under 4,000 square feet are in the high $30s per square foot, while larger stores pay $25 to $30 per square foot on average, according to CPEX Real Estate data.

The off-market deal is expected to close in October. The portfolio’s prospective price per buildable square foot comes out to $464.

The Moshe Group’s Moshe Majeski, who is representing both sides in the deal, declined to comment, as did the Pillers. Representatives for Vanbarton could not be reached.

Since Emmes changed its name to Vanbarton in June, the firm has been busy. For example, Vanbarton agreed to buy the ground lease at 31 Penn Plaza for $270 million, and signed WeWork to its first space in Queens.

The Pillers, who focus primarily on retail investment deals, picked up a six-story Midtown building at 1369 Broadway earlier this year.

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