Innovo Property Group Closes $438M Recap in Queens

The firm brought in a Hong Kong-based equity partner for a 830,000-square-foot mixed-use asset.
24-02 49th Avenue. Image via Google Street View
24-02 49th Avenue. Image via Google Street View

Innovo Property Group has completed the recapitalization of 24-02 49th Avenue, an 830,000-square-foot mixed-use property in Queens, through a new equity joint venture with Hong Kong-based Nan Fung Group. The recapitalization transaction included debt from Axonic Capital and affiliates of Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Co.

“We took advantage of the low interest rates,” Andrew Chung, CEO of Innovo Property Group, told Commercial Property Executive. The recapitalization comes three years after IPG joined forces with Westbrook Partners to acquire the asset in a $195 million transaction.

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The Long Island City property at 24-02 49th Ave. opened in 1928 as an industrial facility and once served as a warehouse for Bloomingdale’s. Under IPG and Westbrook’s ownership, the New York City Housing Authority inked a 30-year lease for 600,000 square feet of space at the property in 2017, kicking off a transformation of the building that resulted in the creation of a commercial condominium space for the agency. Today, with renovations nearing completion, an additional 230,000 square feet will soon come online in the form of another separate-entry commercial condominium, encompassing the top two floors of the seven-story structure and flexible ground-level space.

IPG has tapped CBRE to spearhead leasing of what the real estate investment and operating company describes as a “building within a building” suited for companies seeking a headquarters campus near Manhattan.

Keen on Long Island City

The transaction marks the second time this year that IPG and Nan Fung have partnered in Long Island City. In January, the investors purchased the former Fresh Direct warehouse at 23-30 Borden Ave. for $75 million.

It’s been nine months since Amazon canceled plans for its second headquarters campus in Long Island City and the town is no worse for the experience. The city continues to blossom, as substantial growth in employee and residential populations since 2011 has generated growing demand for local accommodations, according to a recent report by Long Island City Partnership. An additional 5.2 million square feet of commercial and industrial space and 437,000 square feet of retail is planned for delivery by 2021.

IPG, which centers its investments on value-add developments and redevelopments across New York City, will likely have more announcements to make about endeavors in the area. “We are long-term positive on Long Island City fundamentals,” Chung said.