STATEN ISLAND, NY - Commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, Inc. has orchestrated the $80 million trade of 676 industrial-zoned acres on Staten Island's West Shore. International Speedway Corporation (ISC) sold the parcel to Staten Island Marine Development, LLC.
"This site represents the largest undeveloped waterfront parcel in New York City," noted Stan Danzig, who represented ISC in the blockbuster sale along with Jules Nissim and Stephen Elman of the firm's East Rutherford, N.J., office. "Its future development will add real value to the industrial real estate market in Staten Island and the larger New York/New Jersey region."
Offering almost one mile of frontage on the Arthur Kill, the property sits adjacent to the busiest port system on the East Coast. "This parcel provides a rare chance to create modern, big box distribution space that will support - and benefit from - increased regional port activity.
ISC bought the site in 2004 with intent to build an 82,000-person-capacity race track. While the envisioned race track had many merits. it unfortunately met strong public opposition, which resulted in ISC abandoning its development initiative in 2006. In 2007, Cushman & Wakefield was retained by ISC.
The site itself had a number of environmental challenges. Together with requiring significant fill materials to bring the site to a development elevation, the presence of more than 250 acres of wetlands created a major impediment to future development - not being typical for the traditional developer.
Following several contracts falling through as a result of these impediments and the inability of the prospective purchasers to quantify development costs, ISC worked closely with the principals of Staten Island Marine Development to assist in removing these development issues. SIMD through its affiliate, Texas-based UtEX Environmental Services, LLC, worked closely with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to develop a plan that would facilitate the remedial activities while permitting future development consistent with current zoning and the city's 2030 Plan.
"From Cushman & Wakefield's perspective, we saw this as a unique partnership between a regulatory agency and the prospective purchaser that not only addressed the remedial activities, but provided a pathway to development while preserving the vast wetland acreage," Danzig explained. "This plan received significant support from many stakeholders as it addressed the concerns of the environmental stakeholder but offered the opportunity to see industrial development and job creation.
"Hopefully when completed, this site will be a showcase for Staten Island and will evidence how development activities can be balanced and environmentally sensitive when the objectives of the developers, agencies and stakeholders are met," Danzig added.
"This is a great piece of property, and we look forward to seeing its potential realized," Danzig said. "It bodes well for regional industrial real estate that land developers, which have remained quiet since the meltdown, are again entering the market."