Simi, Cerberus & Stonemont Buy Staten Island Self-Storage Asset, Plan Industrial Rebuild

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Simi Capital Group (SCG), global private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management and Stonemont Financial have partnered to buy a 6.1-acre industrial site on Staten Island, with plans to flip it into a parking and storage logistics center to help support the needs of the growing industrial sector in the New York metropolitan area, Commercial Observer has learned.

The trio bought the site, which currently houses a self-storage facility, for $19 million and will spend around $3 million to convert it to surface parking and outdoor storage for transport and logistics vehicles and goods, SCG Founder and Managing Partner Andrew Skydell told CO. This marks SCG’s fourth such purchase just this month, having previously closed three similar deals in Miami and Columbus, Ohio. 

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Skydell said his firm is currently in talks with two notable e-commerce and retail tenants for the space, but he declined to go into detail about who they are. 

Cerberus and Stonemont formed a joint venture earlier this year to deploy about $1 billion into the industrial real estate sector. 

The property is located at 2577 Forest Avenue on Staten Island, just about a mile from Goethals Bridge and right next to Interstate 278, which provides direct access to New Jersey and Brooklyn. 

Skydell, whose firm is going on its fourth year in operation, raved about the growing demand for industrial services real estate in and around major metropolitan areas. SCG has been expanding its portfolio in that sub-sector of industrial real estate in New York, having already executed deals in Nashville, Austin, Columbus, and in central and South Florida. SCG has another five deals in line to close in the next two months. 

“We own [around] 100 acres of land in prime industrial metro markets, and the tenants we work with are best in class,” Skydell said, adding that the firm’s partnership with Cerberus is evidence that institutional investors are learning about this type of real estate. “Large institutions are catching on to market trends and us as operators.”  

“When I was at my last firm [Innovo Property Group], we were buying industrial real estate in New York City, and what kept happening was, the more land we bought, there were tenants using it as on-site parking for their vehicles. We’d file building permits and have to tell them, ‘Sorry, you have to find a new location.’ What made sense was to go out and look for space for them.” 

SCG uses different types of proprietary software to design the storage spaces they build, which can be used for commercial vehicles, cars, equipment rental yards and trailer yards.

“It’s not dissimilar to putting up a warehouse,” Skydell said. “It’s about designing the right lot for the right user. We work with some of the best architects, internally and externally, to best fit the needs of tenants.”

SCG also dabbles in sound and production studios, having partnered with Criterion Group in 2019 to acquire and reposition the 135,000-square-foot Caven Point Studios in New Jersey.

Representatives for Cerberus did not respond to an inquiry. An official at Stonemont did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Mack Burke can be reached at mburke@commercialobserver.com.