NEW YORK CITY– In a complicated transaction with many moving parts, a prime, first class Upper East Side location, a 9,995-square-foot building at 149-151 East 78th Street –a.k.a., the Ackerman Institute for the Family building - has closed at $18,250,000. This represented an important accomplishment and a benchmark price for this high profile neighborhood.
An anonymous developer was the buyer of the five-story, 32-foot-wide townhouse located between Lexington and Third Avenues, a site with additional air rights and a total buildable square footage of approximately 23,661 square feet.
“Timing and structure were critical as the sellers required both top-tier pricing and a long term close with a releasable deposit. In the midst of negotiating the sale, Ackerman also had to find a new home that would pass muster with a discerning non-profit board,” said Ben Tapper, senior director at Eastern Consolidated, who co-represented the seller with Director Marion Jones in the transaction, while Vice Chairmanand Principal Brian Ezratty procured the buyer. As part of the multifaceted assignment the Eastern team was tasked with identifying a new home for the nonprofit that would meet the growing space needs of the institute.
“The purchasers exhibited unusual patience in a hot market where most developers want a shovel in the ground as soon as possible,” Jones said. “The non-profit could not close on the sale until they had purchased a new space and had time to renovate it,” noting that the non-profit keeps an academic calendar and the only time of year they could move was late summer. “This was a catch-22 because they needed some of the proceeds from the sale to buy and renovate the new space.”
According to Ezratty, the Eastern team arranged for the buyers to agree to a highly unusual 12-month close as well as a deposit, roughly 45% of the sale price that would be releasable from escrow toward the purchase and renovation of new space. “An alternative structure – such as sale leaseback -- would have incurred property taxes from which the non-profit was exempt.”
Centrally located in the heart of the Upper East Side, the property is located between Lexington and Third Avenue and is steps away from the 77th Street ‘6’ subway train station. It is situated three blocks from Central Park and is in close proximity to numerous world-class cultural institutions, premier retail districts along Madison and Fifth and countless amenities.
The deal comes on the heels of several other significant nonprofit transactions completed by Eastern Consolidated in recent months. The firm’s Not-for-Profit Services Group, headed by Eastern’s Chairman and CEO Peter Hauspurg, has represented a diverse spectrum of organizations, including the $44 million development site sale to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at 1133 York Avenue; as well as a $39 million sale of a 24-unit package of luxury apartments at 515 East 72nd Street to the hospital; a $39.5 million office transaction for New School University at 84 William Street; a $31 million deal for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations at 838 Fifth Avenue; a $31 million sale for Glad Tidings Church at 325 West 33rd Street.
The Group has recently worked with the Jehovah’s Witnesses – The Watchtower Bible & Trust Society of New York, the Xavier School for the Blind and The Free Synagogue of Flushing. Additionally, the team is currently acting on behalf of Center for Fiction, a prestigious literary non-profit organization located in Midtown Manhattan, in the sale of their headquarters building at 17 East 47th Street and in their acquisition of a new space in Lower Manhattan.
Joshua Bernstein Esq. of Vandenberg Feliu represented the seller, while Stephen Rabinowitz Esq. of Greenburg Traurig acted on behalf of the buyer.
About the Ackerman Institute of the Family
Founded in 1960, the Ackerman Institute for the Family is one of the premier institutions for family therapy and one of the best-known and most highly regarded training facilities for family therapists in the United States. The Institute serves families from all walks of life at all stages of family life.
Founded in 1981, Manhattan-based Eastern Consolidated is one of the country’s preeminent full-service real estate investment services firms, offering unrivaled expertise in the greater New York marketplace to an impressive worldwide roster of institutional and private investor clients. The 40-person team of brokers, who, combined, offer fluency in 11 languages, come from a wide diversity of entrepreneurial and professional backgrounds. With annual sales up to $4 billion, Eastern Consolidated focuses on the acquisition, disposition and finance of all types of properties.