FiDi Chick-fil-a building lays golden egg for Crown Acquisitions

Chera family profited from air rights and building deals

Crown Acquisitions Sells Chick-fil-a Building in FiDi

From left: Crown Acquisitions’ Haim Chera and Richard Chera along with 144 Fulton Street (Getty, Crown Acquisitions, Google Maps)

Buy, hold, lease to Chick-fil-a, sell. 

That was Crown Acquisitions’ approach in the Financial District, where the retail landlord just sold 144 Fulton Street, a 8,600-square-foot building for $38 million, records show.

The fast-food chicken chain is the property’s single, long term tenant. Poseidon Services was the buyer, and was repped by a CBRE team led by Dan Kaplan. Avison Young had listed the property during the summer for $44 million. 

The sale is a boost for the Chera family, owner of Crown Acquisitions, whose large retail portfolio weathered substantial losses during the pandemic.

Chick-fil-a’s popularity can pose challenges for some retail landlords, but the Chera family never seemed to be in a pickle at the restaurant’s Fulton Street location.

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Crown bought the three-story building there in 2015 for $25 million. After renovating and landing Chick-fil-a as its tenant, it sold the property’s air rights in 2018 for $8.7 million.

Chick-fil-a’s lease runs through 2038 at the space, where it pays about $2 million in rent per year, including a basement level, according to CompStak data. There are 13 Chick-fil-a restaurants in Manhattan, but the FiDi location is the only one below 22nd Street.

Employment in New York’s retail sector remains marred by the pandemic. There are 38,000 fewer jobs in the industry compared to before the pandemic, according to a recent report by Center for an Urban Future. There are 5.7 percent fewer restaurant workers than pre-pandemic, although eateries have recovered faster than clothing sellers, one of which Crown battled during the pandemic over unpaid rent.

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Little is known about the new owner of the Fulton Street building, Poseidon Services. The signatory on the deed record, Claus Zellner, claims on LinkedIn to be general counsel for a New York family office. An address for Poseidon given by the deed record is shared with Snow Phipps Group. Vornado Realty Trust and the Rudin family own Poseidon’s Upper East Side office building, at 39 East 51st Street.

Hidrock Properties was the 2018 buyer of 37,000-square-feet of commercial air rights over 144 Fulton Street, which it transferred to a vacant parcel it owns next door, at 140 Fulton Street.