By Jason Turcotte

A pair of prime mixed-use properties has sold to a newly formed investment firm. Benchmark real Estate Group recently closed on the $11.2 million acquisition of 120 MacDougal Street and 142 Sullivan Street six months after pursuing the purchase.

According to Jordan Vogel, principal at Benchmark – which he launched in February with Aaron Feldman after both spent three years working for SG2 Properties, Stephen Siegel’s residential acquisition firm – the fact the credit squeeze hasn’t eased up whatsoever slowed down the sales process. And with the loan covering just 58% of the sales price, the firm put down more than 40% equity.

While Vogel was happy with the price point of the two 7-story buildings, pricing hasn’t come down nearly as much as he predicted it would 12 months ago and owners are only placing properties on the market if they have to sell.

But with a robust student population in the West Village (MacDougal Street being just steps from New York University) and the popularity of SoHo’s Sullivan Street, he believes the deal was the first of many smart Benchmark investments.

“We’re really only looking in the prime areas of New York,” said Vogel, who noted that Benchmark is slated to soon close on a 4-building package in the West Village and another 2-building deal on the Upper West Side.

The package, acquired at a rate of 9.8 times the gross rent multiple, totals nearly 30,000 s/f and includes 54 residential units – a mix of 34 rent regulated and 20 market-rate apartments – and two retail spaces in each building.

120 MacDougal tenants are comprised mostly of students, and it’s two ground-level retail spaces are occupied by a jewelry store and cafe. At 142 Sullivan, Benchmark leased one vacant retail unit to a cafe and the other houses The Room – a stylish wine/beer bar that also has locations in Tribeca, the West Village, Venice Beach and Miami Beach.

When asked whether Benchmark had any plans for the investment properties, Vogel said, “We’re very well capitalized, so we’re going to start to renovate.”

Benchmark first plans to renovate the lobbies and common space. Once the residential leases are up (the buildings are about 95% occupied), they will renovate the units as they become available.

Kevin Salmon and Matthew Marshall, of Salmon & Marshall, represented both Benchmark and the seller.

Back to News