Tarrytown campus glitters for Diamond

Tarrytown campus glitters for Diamond

Philippidis, Alex

Diamond Properties of Valhalla has snapped up its second Westchester office campus in the past two months with its purchase of the American Booksellers Association (ABA) campus in Tarrytown.

The 104-year-old nonprofit will remain on the campus, on Route 9 (828 South Broadway) but will now lease from Diamond the property it. owned for 14 years. The 1.0.2-acre campus consists of three buildings totaling 50,000 square feet a 35,000-square-foot office building; a 13,000-square-foot mansion built circa 1879 and restored in 1990 for $3 million; and a 6,000-square-foot carriage house.

“This is not a corporate headquarters. This is more of an estate,” said Scott Benson, president of Benson Commercial Realty Inc. in Tarrytown, which represented the buyer and seller in the campus deal. Benson said ABA never placed the building on the sale market, but agreed to review offers from a limited number of would-be buyers with a track record in property management.

Beason said Diamond was attracted to the site because of its uniqueness compared to traditional office properties, while the association was looking to free itself or ownership responsibilities so it could focus on its work. Executives from ABA and Diamond were unavailable for comment.

The acquisition – the price of which was not disclosed – comes two months after Diamond Properties paid $14.3 million to buy the 30-acre Sutton Park office campus in Valhalla from seller Louis Dreyfus Property Group. Sutton Park consists of a 100,000-square-foot building and plans for a new 120,000square-foot building.

ELIMINATING AN EXPENSE

ABA has been based at the campus since purchasing it in 1990. The property had housed offices of the original maker of Duracell batteries, P.R. Mallory & Co., but is today a multitenant campus. Other tenants include Atlantic Business Products Inc., which sells office automation and information technology solutions, and the environmental group Waterkeeper Alliance Inc.

Benson said the ABA showed more than book smarts by pursuing the deal, since it capitalized on a key asset and eliminated the expense of running its own property.

“The cost of building operations is such that it made sense for them to be a rentpaying tenant and focus on their business,” said Benson, whose firm has represented the ABA as its exclusive broker for more than a decade.

ABA has nearly 2,300 member book retailers, all but four of them in the United States.

Benson said sale-leaseback deals will rind less interest from property owners over the next few months as interest rates rise from record lows.

Before the Federal Reserve raised the prime interest rate by 0.25 percentage points in June, Benson completed another sale-leaseback deal. An entity of Frank & Lindy Plumbing & Heating Service Co. in Peekskill sold its 21,650-square-foot 2 John Walsh Blvd. to an investment concern headed by Anthony and Frank Longhitano, the New Rochelle developers. Frank & Lindy will continue to occupy 10,800 square feet in the-building as a tenant.

While the price has not been disclosed, Benson said it was in excess of $1.00 per square foot, which would make the price somewhere above $2.2 million.

Copyright Westfair Communications Aug 16, 2004

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