Lightstone Grabs Potential 600K-SF Bronx River Parcel for $59M

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The Lightstone Group closed today on a parcel of land that could be zoned for development as big as 600,000 square feet at 399 Exterior Street and 355 Exterior Street in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx for $59 million in an all-cash deal, Commercial Observer has learned.

SEE ALSO: Inside the Bronx’s Big Investment Boom

The two sites—a former bus depot and an empty lot spanning 471,000 square feet—were being marketed together by a team from Ackman-Ziff, including Marion Jones, Jason Meister and Chris Gillis, for the land’s respective owners, Pantheon Properties (which owned 399 Exterior Street) and Borden Realty (which owned 355 Exterior Street). When The Real Deal first reported the properties were on the market last December, the brokers on the project said it was the largest development site on the market.

Lightstone handled the deal in-house, closing on the deal within seven days without putting the sale in contract. Meister told CO that there were about 12 bidders for the property, including “institutional and high-net worth New York City families.”

“Lightstone was very smart to propose a quick close,” Jones added; there were higher bids.

The sale comes on the heels of Lightstone grabbing a 99-year lease on another parcel at 475 Exterior Street earlier this month, where The New York Post reported that Lightstone paid River Edge Realty $30.1 million for the long-term lease. The site is separated by a park from the new parcel that Lightstone picked up today.

The sale today also marks a significant uptick in the value of the properties along the river; 475 Exterior traded in the low $70s per square foot, whereas 399 and 355 Exterior traded at $125 per square foot, according to Meister (although given the fact that one was a sale and the other was a long-term ground lease it’s not a perfect point of comparison).

Sources tell CO that all three addresses, when taken together, are zoned for approximately 1.5 million square feet of floor area.

Lightstone President Mitchell Hochberg said that the firm is planning on building approximately 2,000 units of housing on the two sites, which will include 70 percent market rate units, 30 percent affordable, a retail component and parking. The parcel at 399 and 355 Exterior Lightstone will work on first with shovels in the ground in the next year and a finished product sometime in 2022.

Lightstone is hardly the only developer who sees potential in the Bronx waterfront; last year the Post reported that Brookfield Property Partners was buying a 1.3-million-square-foot development at 101 Lincoln Avenue and 2401 Third Avenue for $165 million.

“We are always looking for the next new neighborhood,” Hochberg told CO. “We are not afraid of being pioneers. We did it with Gowanus and Dutch Kills. Mott Haven provides great public transportation to Manhattan and the ability to build multifamily at achievable rents.”

Update: This story was edited to include information from Ackman-Ziff and clarify the square footage.