Hager’s Cornell Realty nabs another 34th Street building for assemblage

Moran family has owned retail property for nearly 40 years

259 West 34th Street
259 West 34th Street

Shifra Hager’s Cornell Realty Management added another property to its already extensive holdings on West 34th Street.

The Red Hook-based development and investment firm shelled out $20.5 million for a 6,418-square-foot retail property at 259 West 34th Street, according to Aron Taub of GFI Realty, who brokered the deal. The property comprises a total 21,690 buildable square feet, according to PropertyShark.

The building, which is currently occupied by a Wendy’s restaurant, has belonged to the Moran family since 1977, records show. The Morans used to operate an Irish bar at the location, known as the Blarney Stone.

The building is just the latest in a string of acquisitions by Cornell along the 34th Street corridor. Last year, the firm partnered with the Chetrit Group to buy 245 and 247 West 34th Street for a combined $31.5 million. The partnership followed up that purchase with a $41 million deal for 251 and 253 West 34th Street and then a $20 million deal for 255 West 34th Street.

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The assembled properties total close to 150,000 buildable square feet.

The only remaining properties standing in the way of a complete assemblage appear to be 257 West 34th Street, which has been in the same family since 1997, and 249 West 34th Street, which has been under the same ownership since 1995.

Cornell and Chetrit previously filed plans to build a 17-story, mixed-use hotel property on the first site, at 245 West 34th Street last December. It’s not clear if they plan to scrap those plans in favor of one larger project or build two separate properties on the street.

Cornell is just one of several developers to look toward the Penn Station area for upside, especially in the wake of Vornado Realty Trust’s announcement earlier this year that it would invest hundreds of millions in new retail space, public plazas and other infrastructure in the area.

“The demand for hotel and retail along 34th Street is very strong,” Taub said. “There is very heavy pedestrian traffic there.”