Vornado takes another retail loss as investors remain drawn to warehouses

Details on all 14 commercial deals that closed last week between $10 and $40 million

301 Norman Avenue in Brooklyn and 72 Mercer Street with Vornado's Steven Roth (Google Maps, Avison Young, Getty)
301 Norman Avenue in Brooklyn and 72 Mercer Street with Vornado's Steven Roth (Google Maps, Avison Young, Getty)

Vornado Realty Trust took a loss on its shrinking retail portfolio, selling a commercial condo in Soho last week for less than it paid to acquire the property a decade ago. Industrial properties continued to command top dollar, while multifamily housing, including properties with Section 8 renters, drove most investment sales in the $10 million to $40 million range last week.

Manhattan led the way, capturing 5 of the week’s 14 deals. Brooklyn had four and the Bronx had three, while Queens had two. The transactions fetched a combined $259 million, more or less consistent with each of the two previous weeks.

Below are more details of mid-level investment sales recorded in the first week of December:

1. Industrial developer CenterPoint Properties bought a 66,600-square-foot warehouse and 20,000-square-foot parking lot at 301 Norman Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for $38 million. The seller was Barry Swidler, through a limited liability company. Brokers Jeffrey Unger and Bob Klein of Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates represented both buyer and seller.

2. Vornado sold a 9,000-square-foot retail condo at 501 Broadway, also listed as 72 Mercer Street, in Soho for $27.5 million. The buyer was Crane Partners, the Commercial Observer reported. James Nelson and Brent Glodowski of Avison Young brokered the sale.

Vornado acquired the unit in 2012 for $31 million, making it one of several retail properties the REIT has recently sold at a loss.

3. Rick Gropper and Andrew Moelis’s Camber Property Group bought two affordable housing buildings comprising 83 residential units at 1971 and 1975 Grand Avenue in Morris Heights, the Bronx, for $27 million. Camber acquired the complex from Omni New York in a portfolio sale of Section 8 housing, which also included properties in Brooklyn and East Harlem (see item 6 on this list).

4. A development parcel with 186,600 square feet of buildable space at 350 Grand Concourse in Mott Haven, the Bronx, sold for $21.2 million. The buyer and seller are anonymous limited liability companies, 350 Rising and 350 Concourse Realty, respectively. The 31,100-square-foot property is occupied by a gas station.

5. A fifty-percent stake in an office building at 181 and 183 Canal Street in Chinatown sold for $18.6 million. The seller was an affiliate of Manhattan Wealth Management Group. The Rockfeld Group bought the building in 2015 for $30.1 million.

6. Camber Property bought a 15,900-square-foot apartment building with 15 units at 47 East 130th Street and a 27,200-square-foot apartment building with 39 units at 2071 Madison Avenue in East Harlem for a combined $18 million. Both properties were part of the aforementioned portfolio sale by Omni New York.

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7. Denali Management bought a 67,000-square-foot apartment building with 76 units at 147 West 230th Street in Kingsbridge Heights, the Bronx, for $15 million. Gabriel Klein signed for the seller, KS Realty, a limited partnership registered in Delaware.

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8. A fifty-percent stake in a 6,500-square-foot retail condo at Related Companies’ One Madison, at 23 East 22nd Street in Flatiron, sold for $15.2 million. The seller was an affiliate of Manhattan Wealth Management Group. The Rockfeld Group bought the unit from Related in 2015 for $21 million.

9. An affiliate of Hesper Realty Associates sold a 14,200-square-foot commercial condo at 136-05 Sanford Avenue in Flushing, Queens, for $14.5 million. The seller, limited liability company 136 Enchanted, is registered to a house in Flushing owned by Thomas Young and Hui Sheng.

10. Industrial investor Seagis Property Group bought a 23,000-square-foot warehouse at 19-19 37th Street in Ditmars-Steinway, Queens, for $14.4 million. The seller was Essmax Realty LLC.

11. Joe Schwartz bought 9,600 square feet of warehouse space at 121 and 123 Grand Street and 228 Berry Street in Williamsburg for $13.8 million, acting through limited liability companies Berry North and Berry Emmet. The seller was Isaac Dahan.

12. Henry Elghanayan’s Rockrose Development bought an additional five percent interest in 11 East 26th Street, a 218,000-square-foot office building facing Madison Square Park, for $13 million. The purchase pegs the value of the building at $260 million, above even its pre-pandemic valuation of $246 million. The seller was Joan B. Kaufman. Rockrose bought a 14 percent interest in the building in April for $32.9 million, which at the time valued it at $235 million.

13. Wing Fung Chau of 37-19 Realty, Inc., sold a 25 percent stake in 6208 Eighth Avenue, a 160,700-square-foot development parcel in Sunset Park, Queens, for $11.5 million.

The purchase suggests an approximate market value of $46 million for the property, the site of a long-delayed, 1.3-million-square-foot project which has allegedly stranded foreign investment secured through the EB-5 program. The remaining 75 percent interest is owned by 62-08 Realty LLC, registered to a house in Flushing owned by Hui Chen.

Companies 62-08 Realty LLC and 37-19 Realty Inc. purchased the lot in 2014 for $51.5 million. An agreement to sell the 25 percent stake to Elizabeth Chen’s American Premium Realty Group LLC was terminated last month, according to property records.

14. Denali Management bought a 66,000-square-foot multifamily building with 65 residential units at 3413 Avenue H in East Flatbush for $10.9 million. The seller was Warren Cohen.

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