Sales  ·  Commercial

Lalezarian Picks Up Murray Hill Office Building for $34M, Plans Resi Conversion

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Lalezarian Properties bought a Murray Hill office building for $33.5 million and plans to convert the building to residential use, according to property records made public Monday.

Princeton International Properties sold the eight-story 650 First Avenue to Lalezarian in a deal that closed March 23, one day after Lalezarian secured approval from the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) to turn it into housing, according to property records and the DOB. 

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The Long Island-based Lalezarian first filed plans to convert the building in November and worked with Princeton to get DOB approval before the sale closed, said Eric Englander, Princeton’s vice president of asset management. 

Once the redevelopment is complete, the 92,772-square-foot property between East 37th and East 38th streets will hold up to 23,212 square feet of commercial space and up to 116,060 square feet of housing, according to a zoning document filed with the DOB. 

Lalezarian first filed plans to build 113 residential units in the property in November, but in March said it would have 111 apartments, according to records.

The building is currently occupied by New York University Langone Health’s internal medicine offices, according to their website. But Princeton included termination clauses in the lease to give a buyer the option to redevelop the property, Englander said.

Given the growing calls for office-to-residential conversions to ease the city’s housing crisis, it was the perfect time to sell, according to Englander.

“We primarily own and manage office buildings, and seeing the residential conversion market gain traction, it made sense to sell to an accomplished and qualified group to execute the business plan,” Englander wrote in an email.

The sale paid off the remaining balance of a $27 million financing Signature Bank provided in 2016 and the building is now debt-free, according to property records and Englander.

A spokesperson for Lalezarian did not immediately respond to a request for comment. There were no brokers in the deal.

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.