Related in talks to buy Astoria affordable portfolio for $115M

Ross’ firm plans to add 53 new units  to 444-unit Sec. 8 project

Stephen Ross with the Marine Terrace portfolio in Astoria.
Stephen Ross with the Marine Terrace portfolio in Astoria.

The Related Companies is in talks to buy a 444-unit Section 8 multifamily property with development rights in Astoria for $115 million, its latest move to add to a giant affordable housing portfolio.

Related, which got its start in the 1970s buying and rehabilitating affordable housing, is negotiations with Long Island-based landlord Benjamin Properties to buy the 10-building Marine Terrace portfolio, located in the northeast corner of the Queens neighborhood.

The Stephen Ross-led firm, which is behind the Time Warner Center, Hudson Yards and 70 Vestry Street, plans to develop 53 new apartments on the Astoria site for the homeless and veterans.

Representatives for the two companies did not respond to requests for comment, but in a state application for  $108 million in bond financing for the deal, Related revealed plans to invest in upgrading the apartments and adding the new units.

The state’s Housing Finance Agency plans to vote Thursday on the developer’s application.

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The eight-acre development, which Benjamin constructed in the 1990s, also includes a series of garages with nearly 130 parking spaces at its northern end. Related plans to clear 100 of the spaces to make way for a pair of new rental buildings.

The property addresses are: 20-32 19th Street, 20-12 20th Street, 20-11 20th Street, 20-11 18th Street, 20-31 19th Street, 20-05 Shore Boulevard and 20-25 Shore Boulevard.

Last year Related picked up a 3,200-unit portfolio with apartments in Chicago and ten other cities for $270 million. Company executives explained that the stable income helps spread the risk that comes with projects like Hudson Yards. And in December the company bought the largest multifamily portfolio to change hands in the Bronx in 2015: a 737-unit spread across 20 buildings for $112.5 million.

The company expects the Marine Terrace project – including acquisition – to cost just over $210 million, including a $20.63 million developer’s fee.

Related will renew the project’s Section 8 contract with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development through 2036.