JDS Development Acquires Murray Hill Lot with $172M in Meridian Financing

JDS Development Group has acquired a 730,426-square-foot development site in New York City’s popular Murray Hill neighborhood from Sheldon Solow for a reported $172 million, with plans to build two multi-family towers on the two-acre vacant lot.

JDS Development Group has acquired a 730,426-square-foot development site in New York City’s popular Murray Hill neighborhood from Sheldon Solow for a reported $172 million, with plans to build two multi-family towers on the two-acre vacant lot.

Meridian Capital Group L.L.C., a leading national commercial real estate finance and advisory firm, negotiated $128 million in financing for the developer.

JDS Development Group’s plan is to construct a total of 830 units in a 37-story building and a 47-story building on the site at 616 First Ave., along First Avenue between E. 35th and 36th streets and overlooking the East River.

The parcel is zoned for residential use and is the smaller of two plots totaling nine acres that were originally purchased in 2005 from Con Edison. The entire JDS project is expected to cost $600 million and will be fully financed, according to the company.

“Meridian arranged the financing with UBS Real Estate Securities Inc. in 17 days, leveraging its extensive relationship with the lender to enable the sponsorship to take advantage of one of the most unique post-Lehman buying opportunities in Manhattan,” Aaron Appel, a managing director at Meridian Capital Group, said in a company statement.

Plans call for more than an acre of open space at the base of the towers, and JDS is currently working with the Department of City Planning to ensure a strong connection to the waterfront. Although the FDR Drive stands between the property and the river, a pedestrian bridge or deck of some kind is being considered to alleviate the problem.

With Solow owning another seven acres in New York City, the multi-family landscape might soon be changing. Already in development is Zecekendorf’s 50 United Nations Plaza, a 44-story project at 47th Street and First Avenue set to house 87 luxury condominiums.