Brothers Tom, Fred and Henry Elghanayan sure love the West. We know about their work on the shoreline in Long Island City—dubbed Queens West by developers and brokers—the untested area of the city where they are developing aggressively.
And now they’re staying bullish on the West of Manhattan. Earlier this month, according to city records, Rockrose bought for $10.048 million a commercial building at 677 11th Avenue, roughly 10 blocks north of where they’re building two apartment towers.
The squat, four-story commercial building at 48th Street measures 32,800 square feet, including a large garage, according to PropertyShark.com, meaning the Elghanayans paid a respectable $306 a foot for it. The seller was Martin & Mark Realty Company.
Rockrose didn’t return a call for comment before The Observer’s Tuesday evening deadline, but no doubt they bought it in anticipation of big development to come on the far West Side.
Sure, they didn’t quite have the chops to bid two weeks ago with big boys like the Related Companies, the Durst Organization, Vornado and Tishman Speyer on the Western Rail Yards that flank 11th Avenue up to 33rd Street. But they’ve made other West Side moves. The New York Times reported in February that Rockrose is developing two apartment buildings—one with 394 units, the other with 856—on 10th avenue at 37th Street.
Nearby, the state has plans to expand the Jacob Javits Convention Center on 10th Avenue, to near 42nd Street. Also, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants to drag the No. 7 subway line to 11th Avenue and 42nd Street by 2012, adding faster mass transit to an area groaning under just bus service.
As much as 24 million square feet of office space—about nine Freedom Towers, as The Observer noted in April—and 12,600 apartments are planned or under way in the 45-block area from 29th Street to 42nd Street, from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River.
The Elghanayans, then, might be trying to ride a wave to its crest, positioning a humble property to be gobbled up by ravenous—and bigger—developers on what’s been called Manhattan’s final development frontier.
The Elghanayans have a reputation of buying at the right place at the perfect time, notably their development of the Carnegie Hall Tower on West 57th Street, which they created in the 1980’s on dirt cheap prices and have seen remarkably high returns on since.