The New York-based real estate investment and advisory firm Vanbarton Group bought Riverdale Crossing, a shopping center anchored by a soon-to-open BJ’s Wholesale Club in the Bronx, for $133 million, Commercial Observer can first report. The acquisition closed today.
The 159,037-square-foot shopping center was developed and sold by Metropolitan Realty Associates in a joint venture with its equity partner Angelo Gordon & Co. and is 98 percent leased to nationally recognized retail tenants, according to the buyer. The transit-oriented development is located at Broadway and West 237th Street, at the foot of the 1 subway line and adjacent to the Major Deegan Expressway.
“The outer boroughs are under-retailed,” said Seble Williams, managing director for the NYC Vanbarton Interborough Fund, in prepared remarks provided to CO. “Riverdale Crossing responds to the significant unmet consumer demand in the Bronx. The center will no doubt benefit from a terrific tenant mix, as well as ideal transportation access and visibility.”
A team led by Adam Spies and Doug Harmon of Eastdil Secured represented the seller. Northwestern Mutual provided acquisition financing for the shopping center through its $195 billion general account investment portfolio, whose assets back the company’s insurance and annuity products. The exact loan amount was not disclosed and a spokesman for Northwestern Mutual did not return a request.
Vanbarton Group has been an active player in the market lately with the recent acquisitions of 31 Penn Plaza, an 18-story, 444,000 square-foot office building in Midtown South and 47-16 Austell Place (also known as The Zipper Building) in Long Island City, where the firm recently leased the entire fourth floor to the Joffrey Ballet Center.
The real estate firm also recently financed 180 Water Street, an office-to-rental residential conversion in Lower Manhattan, with a $240 million loan from Capital One and Brookfield Real Estate Finance Fund IV, city records show.
Riverdale Crossing anchors the northern end of the Kingsbridge neighborhood’s retail corridor on Broadway, which has been transformed into a shopping destination. The property’s tenants include Petco, CityMD, Chipotle, Smashburger and Buffalo Wild Wings.
The purchase presented an opportunity for Vanbarton Group to acquire a “brand new, truly irreplaceable retail center with national tenants on long-term leases,” Ms. Williams noted.
“It has been extremely gratifying to have revitalized a site that means so much to the community,” Joseph Farkas, MRA’s president, told CO via a spokeswoman. “Seeing the new center bustling with residents and economic activity makes me proud to have been a part of this significant transformation. It is a wonderful neighborhood that will continue to be great for many years to come.”
—Additional reporting by Danielle Balbi