Buddha on the Mountain: Meditation Center Buys Midtown South Co-op
Daniel Geiger March 29, 2012, 10:10 a.m.
The Chakrasambara Kadampa Meditation Center has purchased a 7,518 square foot commercial co-op at 127 West 24th Street for $3.2 million. The group, which offers classes on Buddhism and meditation, purchased the space from the TREC Rental Corp., a rental company that provides film production equipment.
Michael Rudder, a broker who specializes in selling commercial condo space and operates his own company Rudder Property Group, handled the sale and said that the meditation center would probably kick in another $750,000 to renovate the space for its use.
“They’re going to build out a beautiful Buddhist center with space to hold classes and probably have coffee shop and perhaps a book store,” Mr. Rudder said.
Mr. Rudder usually handles condo sales and said that working on a co-op space has added challenges.
“There’s a co-op board and you have to convince all the members that this is a good use for the building, so it’s a little more tricky than selling a condo space,” Mr. Rudder said, noting that co-ops consequently trade at a 15 percent discount to condo spaces generally. “We created a 60 page presentation and showed it to all of the board members.”
The building is seven stories and 35,000 square feet in total, Mr. Rudder said.
Non-profit tenants are attracted to owning space.
“It’s easier for these non profits to go out and raise money when they’re telling their donors they’re going to own rather than rent a space so non-profits prefer to own,” Mr. Rudder said.
Commercial condos also offer non-profits tax benefits because they aren’t required to pay property taxes on the space that are normally built into the cost of commercial rents. Co-op owners, however, aren’t able to avoid paying taxes the same way.
“In a commercial co-op you own shares in the building not the space itself so you can’t avoid the taxes,” Mr. Rudder said. “Still, non profits like them better. They get to benefit from the space’s appreciation.”