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Metropolitan Realty Associates prez Joe Farkas
Need a lift? Metropolitan Realty Associates prez Joe Farkas has the magic touch, snapping up underused NYC and Long Island assets and transforming them. His work’s been paying off: Last year, MRA and equity partner Angelo Gordon & Co sold the two-building, 189k SF 1000 Stewart Ave in Garden City to Carlton Associates and David Werner for $39M (bought in ’06 for $7.4M) after repositioning it and attracting Lifetime Brands and Nassau Community College. The partners also purchased the 50%-occupied Sunrise Business Center in Great River from the Rudin family, turned around two buildings, and built a third (above, the scissors-wielding Joe cuts the ribbon on the new building in ’09). The 400k SF office complex is currently 97% occupied. “We’re now in the market selling it quietly and may be close to a deal,” he says. The partners and Belvedere Capital also purchased the 60%-occupied 15 E 26th St for $33M, leased 40k SF to Vera Wang, and then sold the building 14 months later to Savanna for $57.5M.
Riverdale Crossing, the Bronx
Work is under way on Riverdale Crossing, a two-building shopping center located between Broadway, the Major Deegan, and 237th St in the Bronx. (Don't let anybody tell you playing with toy trains won't lead to anything.) It’s anchored by a 118k SF BJ’s Wholesale Club and an adjacent freestanding building that will deliver Q4 ’13. Joe tells us he’s looking for two junior anchors to fill the space—the area is underserved with retail. And big boxes are looking for new construction and parking, particularly for new prototype stores. Also under way is 711 Stewart Ave, a mixed-use building in Garden City that will have a 121k SF BJ’s anchor; a 55k SF two-story, state-of-the-art health club/fitness center; and an additional 130k SF planned to be filled with more retail and medical offices—“two tenant types that come together very nicely.”
Metropolitan Realty Associates prez Joe Farkas, Angelo Gordon's Adam Schwartz, and HFF's Evan Pariser
Joe recently came back from a real estate finance conference in Aspen, where he climbed the Highland Bowl with Angelo Gordon’s Adam Schwartz and HFF’s Evan Pariser—that’s 12,347 feet. (It was an hour and 15 minutes up, but the drop down took another 30, he says.) Now that his feet are back on terra firma, he’s on the ground for more deals. “We’re looking for the next transformation in Long Island or New York City,” he tells us. Of particular interest is repositioning assets for big-box retail use, much like it’s doing to Riverdale, or purchasing a major NYC office property or portfolio for repositioning. He’s also spending time looking at underutilized assets in all the boroughs.