Saturday, June 20, 2009

What could $20 million buy? A 50-foot-wide site in Chelsea

Forest City Ratner reportedly wants to pay just $20 million to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the portion of the Vanderbilt Yard it needs to build the Atlantic Yards arena. It initially promised to pay $100 million for the whole railyard. This series attempts to add some context.

From the Fourth Quarter 2008 Massey Knakal Sales Journal:
Massey Knakal Realty Services has sold a 50-foot-wide development site at 124-126 West 23rd Street in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood in an all-cash transaction valued at $19,333,875. The site contains approximately 15,769 square feet and is comprised of two 25-foot wide, five-story loft buildings. It is located near the Chelsea Stratus, a new mixed-use development where only a handful of the 199 residential units remain. As-of-right zoning will allow for the construction of a 44,437 square foot structure. The purchase price included an additional 7,120 square feet of air rights, transferred from a shared zoning lot containing the 15-story Milan apartment building. Total buildable is 51,557 square feet and will support a mixed-use rental or condo building with ground floor commercial space. The property sold for $375 per buildable square foot to a Manhattan investor.

The segment of the Vanderbilt Yard at issue is 495' x 200', or 99,000 square feet, more than six times larger than the Chelsea site, even though the price would be about the same.

The Chelsea site only supports 51,557 buildable square feet. The Atlantic Yards arena block, of which this segment (Block 1119, Lot 7) would be at least a third, would support an 800,000 square foot arena and at least 1.5 million sf in development rights, according to the City Funding Agreement. (The towers on the area block, as approved, were supposed to contain 2.69 million square feet.)

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