Starwood JV Pays $146M for NYC Industrial Portfolio

CBRE arranged the purchase of these properties near JFK Airport.

Aerial view of JFK International Airport in Queens, N.Y.

Aerial view of JFK International Airport in Queens, N.Y. Image courtesy of CBRE

A 10-property light industrial portfolio in Long Island near JFK International Airport in Queens, N.Y., has traded for the first time in 50 years, in a $146 million deal arranged by CBRE.

A partnership of Onyx Acquisition IV LLC and Starwood purchased the one- and two-story assets from limited liability companies controlled by the Elias family. Ben Elias Industries Corp., a clothing distribution and retail company founded in 1945, announced in May 2022 that it was closing its business by the summer of 2022.

The properties totaling 500,708 square feet are in Inwood, N.Y., in Nassau County on 18.28 acres adjacent to the Queens airport. They are: 95 Inip Drive, 90 Inip Drive, 71 Inip Drive, 55 Inip Drive, 41 Inip Drive, 100 Inip Drive, 40 Inip Drive, 475 Doughty Blvd. and 447-453 Doughty Blvd.

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The Onyx Equities website describes the site as a premier infill location and states renovations are planned through 2025, although no details were provided. Earlier this year, New Jersey-based Onyx Equities formed a joint venture with Machine Investment Group to acquire Merck Sharp & Dohme’s former world headquarters, a 108-acre Class A life science campus in Kenilworth, N.J. The property has 2 million square feet of biologics, research and development space.

In October 2021, Starwood Capital Group expanded its industrial holdings with the purchase of an 11-asset portfolio with approximately 2 million square feet in the Phoenix metro from EJM Development for $407 million.

Value-add assets in strong market

CBRE’s Brian Fiumara and Martin Lomazow led the transaction, which included team members Philip Heilpern, Matt Manoogian, Paul Leone, Doug Middleton, Michael Hines, Brad Ruppel, Bo Cashman, Jonathan Beard, Joe Hill and Lauren Dawicki. CBRE represented the seller in the negotiations. Allan Elias, executive vice president at Ben Elias Industries Corp., represented the Elias family interests.

Fiumara said in a prepared statement the portfolio provides Onyx and Starwood with a critical mass of highly efficient light industrial assets with significant value-add in a New York City area with accessibility to consumers, infrastructure and labor. He added the transaction speaks to the strength of the market for well-located, high-quality industrial assets.

The JFK submarket had a total of 10.3 million square feet, with warehouse and distribution accounting for 8.9 million square feet and manufacturing for 1.4 million square feet, according to JLL’s Industrial Insight Q2 2023 report for the New York City outer boroughs. The report notes the total vacancy in the submarket was 1.4 percent for the second quarter, with warehouse and distribution total vacancy at 1.3 percent.

The portfolio was 54 percent leased at the time of closing, according to the Long Island Business News. The business publication noted the remaining space had been occupied by the seller, making the portfolio attractive as a value-add play in a tight industrial market. The Elias family had owned the portfolio for 50 years, CBRE’s Lomazow stated, calling the transaction a rather unique opportunity for the buyer.

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