MAG Partners Buys Ground Lease for Residential Co-Op Redevelopment

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MaryAnne Gilmartin’s MAG Partners has purchased the $63.8 million leasehold for 335 Eighth Avenue from Penn South and plans to turn the site into a mixed-income apartment building.

MAG Partners signed a 99-year ground lease for the property — currently a retail building that formerly housed a Gristedes supermarket — in a joint venture with real estate equity firm Safanad. The JV plans to redevelop the building into 188 units of affordable housing with ground-floor commercial space, The Real Deal first reported.

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The commercial building in Penn South, a 10-building mixed-income complex between West 23rd and West 29th streets that has faced financial woes, will be demolished while a new rental development will bring a grocery store to the area in the planned retail space, according to MAG Partners. Penn South tapped MAG Partners to lead the development last year.

“The co-op was faced with a decision to make, after a thorough assessment from our professional engineers and real estate consultants,” Ryan Dziedziech, general manager of Penn South, said in a statement. “Either we seek additional very costly loans in order to address major capital repairs to this two-story aging commercial building or enter into a long-term ground lease with a responsible developer who will demolish the existing building and build an affordable, quality housing building that will blend into the fabric of the community and guarantee our limited equity co-op cash flow for many years to come.”

Gristedes, Midtown Tennis Club, Asylum Comedy Club and McDonald’s were previous tenants whose leases expired in the commercial building at the end of 2022, according to TRD.

Demolition of the existing structure will begin in the first quarter of this year followed by construction of a 200,000-square-foot, seven-story building designed by architectural firm Cookfox. Construction will start in the third quarter of 2023, according to MAG Partners.\

The sale of the leasehold will allow the co-op, officially known as Mutual Redevelopment Houses, to make capital improvements to remaining sections of the campus while keeping monthly maintenance fees low for shareholders and providing additional services to its estimated 5,000 residents. The deal could contribute as much as $750 million to the co-op over the length of the 99-year term, TRD reported.

“[We] look forward to starting a new mixed-income residential building that will contribute to the co-op’s beautiful campus and provide critical income to its mission,” Gilmartin said in a statement.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.