Thursday, November 15, 2012

230th Street mall may expand with key corner


Equity One snapped up this abandoned gas station at
West 230th Street and Broadway for $2 million
The developer of the yet-to-be-built $54 million Broadway Plaza shopping mall has purchased the adjoining vacant lot—the defunct Getty gas station.
The Riverdale Review can reveal that Equity One last month acquired the 7,500-square-foot parcel at 5510 Broadway from a California-based LLC for a hefty $2 million—more than three times the current market value of $630,000.
Documents filed with the New York City Department of Finance show the property deed for the commercial site was transferred on October 15.
Equity One currently owns the 80,000-square-foot parcel on the eastern boundary of the gas station. The site, now a city-owned parking lot, will be developed into a two-story multi-tenant shopping mall set to open in mid-2014.
The newest acquisition means the national developer now commands two of the three coveted parcels of developable land along the busy intersection of West 230th Street and Broadway—a clear indication that the area is viewed as a worthy spot for major commercial development.

Equity One executive vice president of development Michael Berfield was reluctant to provide details of the transaction but confirmed the recent purchase.
“There was an opportunity to get it, and it seemed to make sense given what we own there, and so we were just taking advantage of that,” Berfield said.
“We’re happy to have the opportunity, and it just reflects our confidence in the area.”
Local residents and elected officials have long considered the two long-vacant lots—the Getty gas station and former Popeye’s store—as keys to commercial development along the corridor. It is unclear who owns the other vacant lot.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz heralded news of the purchase and likened it to the final piece of the puzzle.
“This is very exciting news,” he said. “I hope that whatever is constructed on that site fits in well with the rest of the development and hope they will be able to acquire the adjacent site where Popeye’s used to stand.”
However, Equity One officials said they were unlikely to consolidate their land holdings and enlarge the footprint of the shopping mall.
In fact, Berfield said that the recent acquisition would not have a bearing on the existing Broadway Plaza project and that both sites would be treated separately.
“At another point in time they could get interconnected, but at this point, both will stand on their own,” he said, adding that both will have separate construction timelines.
Berfield also said the purchase would not lead to a change in the mall’s controversial loading and unloading plan. Under the proposed traffic arrangements, 72-foot-long tractor-trailers will make deliveries to the site by backing into the mall’s loading dock on West 230th Street.
Given the location of the loading dock, traffic will come to a standstill as trucks reverse into the delivery area and block three lanes of westbound traffic.
“It’s not the type of thing that we’d want to change at this stage,” he said. “We have an agreement with EDC and we have to live up to our obligations with the city.”
News of the purchase comes as the city-owned parking lot currently operating at the larger site prepares to close its gates on Sunday, November 18.
According to a small sign posted at the entrance, vehicles will no longer be able to utilize the lot once construction crews begin to move in next week. Officials previously estimated the lot closure would impact around 80 motorists who park there on a monthly basis and 50 occasional users.
The Broadway Plaza project has long been mired in controversy.
The city’s Economic Development Corporation first proffered the site in 2005, but the successful bidder at the time—Ceruzzi Holdings—spent years negotiating the sale price while locals waited for construction to start.
The two parties finally agreed on a $6 million sale price in February 2011, but Ceruzzi got cold feet and was unable to close on the deal before in time for the June deadline.
Equity One was eventually selected to redevelop the site after a second request for proposals was issued. The developer purchased the site from the city for $7.5 million.

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