Carlyle Group pockets $40M LIC trade school building

Demand for building trades is up despite faltering economy

Carlyle CEO Kewsong Lee and 24-02 Queens Plaza South in Long Island City (Getty; Atlas Capital)
Carlyle CEO Kewsong Lee and 24-02 Queens Plaza South in Long Island City (Getty; Atlas Capital)

The Carlyle Group has picked up a Long Island City trade school building for $40 million.

The private-equity firm purchased the 74,105-square-foot building at 24-02 Queens Plaza South from Atlas Capital, according to property records. The property has been home to Apex Technical School since 2012, the same year Atlas bought the building for $13.5 million.

Carlyle and Atlas did not immediately return requests for comment. But the purchase may be a bet on the future of the trades at a time when many other tenants are struggling to cover rent.

The unemployment rate for construction workers has fallen over the last decade, according to a July report from the National Association of Home Builders.

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Despite an overall economy faltering from effects of the pandemic, demand for housing has outpaced supply. Prices have risen as a result.

The median sale price for a new home reached $330,600 in July, 7.2 percent higher than a year earlier. Lumber prices have also risen because of a supply crunch, pushing the cost to build a new home up $16,000 since April.

In a public Facebook group for alumni, Apex lists a steady stream of job offerings, mainly in the automotive field. Fearful of public transportation, many New Yorkers have become first-time car owners.

The Wall Street Journal reported that walk-in leads to New York City-area auto dealers were up 38 percent in June, year-over-year, compared with 6 percent nationwide. And the city registered 2,000 more cars in June, and 9,000 more in July, compared to the same months in 2019, according to The City.

Carlyle has reportedly discouraged its own employees from taking public transportation. Currently based at 520 Madison Avenue, the firm plans to relocate its headquarters to One Vanderbilt.

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