Toll Bros. Buys NYC Non-Profit Building for $135M

Toll Brothers can move ahead with development of another urban condo project now that it has closed on its purchase of 122 E. 23rd St., owned by United Cerebral Palsy of New York City.

By Gail Kalinoski, Contributing Editor

Sharon Zimmer
Sharon Zimmer, Romer Debbas L.L.P.

Toll Brothers can move ahead with development of another urban condo project now that it has closed on its $135 million purchase of 122 East 23rd St., a four-story, 60,000-square-foot building owned by United Cerebral Palsy of New York City, Inc.

The sale, one of the highest for that neighborhood, went into contract in June 2013, but because UCP is a non-profit and it was selling a major asset, it had to get approval from the Supreme Court of New York, according to Sharon Zimmer, an attorney and partner at Romer Debbas LLP, the New York City law firm that represented UCP.

Despite the length of time between going into contract and closing, Zimmer called it an “extremely seamless and smooth transition.”

“Both parties agreed to a few postponements earlier in the year, which worked better for everyone,” she said in a release.

The non-profit, which provides services and advocacy to children and adults with cerebral palsy and other disabilities, is moving its facility to leased space at 80 West End Ave., where it has a 31 ½-year triple-net lease, according to Zimmer. The attorney said UCP will be using part of the sale money for a gut renovation of the rented space. The 1920s-era building is owned by an entity of Frank Ring. Colliers International arranged the 218,000-square-foot lease. Jared Kushner and Ira Bloom of Kushner represented the owners.

UCP has owned the East 23rd Street property in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan since 1973. The property offers a total of 180,000 square feet of development rights with zoning that allows for residential, retail and commercial uses.

Avison Young’s New York-based Capital Markets team comprised of Principals Jon Epstein, Vincent Carrega, Neil Helman and Charles Kingsley represented UCP in the deal and marketed the site as a possible multi-family project because of its location.

“The prime location of 122 East 23rd St. in the Gramercy neighborhood between Lexington Avenue and Park Avenue South – considered one of the most desirable places to live in Manhattan – made it particularly well suited for redevelopment as a residential property,” Epstein said in an Avison Young release.

“As a result of our network, we were able to identify a high-caliber buyer in Toll Brothers, and ultimately secure pricing that is significantly higher than any other comparable property transaction in the neighborhood,” Epstein added. “With the client intent on moving to a new program center location, it was incumbent to find a buyer that could be flexible with relocation timing and procurement of approvals. The transaction entailed close coordination with all parties involved to ensure a seamless process as United Cerebral Palsy of New York transitions to its new space.”

Toll Brothers, based in Horsham, Pa., is the nation’s leading builder of luxury homes with projects in 19 states. Details on the company’s plans for 122 East 23rd St. were not available but the project will be part of its City Living brand for urban properties. Toll Brothers currently has 12 City Living condo projects in New York City listed on its web site, including 160 East. 22nd St., a sold-out residential property in the same neighborhood as the UCP site.