Black Spruce picks up Queens multifamily portfolio

Firm spent $87M on 383-unit complex with room to build

80-08 and 81-10 135th Street in Briarwood Queens (Google Maps)
80-08 and 81-10 135th Street in Briarwood Queens (Google Maps)

Almost a year after hitting the market, a Queens portfolio sold to an emerging name in the multifamily sector: Black Spruce Management.

Records show Josh Gotlib’s company purchased the four-building portfolio in Briarwood for $87.2 million from The Musso Group. The seller was marketing the property a year ago with an asking price of $99 million.

The Musso Group bought the pair of apartment buildings at 80-08 and 81-10 135th Street in 2009 for $28 million, racking up 278 residential units and one professional unit. In the intervening years, the company built two luxury rental buildings with a total of 104 units at 80-09 and 81-09 134th Street.

The complex, spanning 382,000 square feet and 383 units, also includes 116 parking spaces and 28,000 square feet of additional development rights, according to B6 Real Estate Advisors’ Thomas Donovan, who headed the team of brokers representing the seller last year.

According to Donovan, most of the apartments in the portfolio are rent-stabilized, but 30 are market-rate. The original buildings, constructed in 1949, were nearly fully occupied as of last February, while leasing was ongoing or yet to begin at the two new properties.

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Donovan did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the sale. Both Black Spruce and The Musso Group also could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Black Spruce is becoming an increasingly familiar name to those following the multifamily market. Last month, the company made a major splash by plunking down about $850 million on the American Copper Buildings in Murray Hill. Michael Stern’s JDS Development Group and the Baupost Group sold the luxury towers at 626 First Avenue in a deal expected to close in the first half of this year.

Weeks later, an affiliate of the firm bought an 80 percent interest in an 89-unit, 95,400-square-foot mixed-use building at 2660 Broadway in the Upper West Side’s Manhattan Valley for $36 million. The seller was Sofia Einy.

Gotlib co-founded Black Spruce in 2009 with Oliver Legg. Despite amassing 4,000 units in the last dozen years and reportedly racking up more than $1 billion in multifamily deals in the past year alone, 36-year-old Gotlib has largely flown under the radar.