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Sentinel to sell Washington Heights portfolio for $102M

By Mark Maurer

The five elevator buildings offer 289 units and 199K sf in air rights

A group of real estate investors led by Joshua Sternhell and Mike Spira is in contract to pick up five Washington Heights rental buildings known as the Fort Riverside portfolio from Sentinel Real Estate Corporation for $101.5 million, or about $300 per square foot, sources told The Real Deal.

The six-story elevator buildings contain 289 apartments and span 341,148 square feet. They are spread along Fort Washington Avenue and Riverside Drive.

The package also includes a combined 199,000 square feet of air rights. The addresses are 66-72, 80 and 86 Fort Washington Avenue and 838 and 884 Riverside Drive.

Of the 289 apartments, 104 are renovated. About 62 percent of the apartments are rent-regulated and rent for about 50 percent of the market rate at $20 per square foot, according to an offering memorandum.

Together, the buildings generate $5.8 million in annual revenue and $3.4 million in net operating income, the memo shows.

Cignature Realty Associates CEO Lazer Sternhell – son of Joshua Sternhell – and Peter Vanderpool are representing the buyers. A Cushman & Wakefield team led by Robert Shapiro, Bob Knakal and Jonathan Hageman are representing the sellers in the deal. They were marketing it for sale for $107 million.

The brokers declined to comment, while Sentinel and the buyers could not be reached.

Four of the five buildings were part of an eight-building package that John Streicker’s Midtown-based investment firm Sentinel Real Estate bought in 2012 from Vantage Properties and AREA Property Partners, now known as Candlebrook Properties and Ares Management, respectively.

Sentinel and the other buyers collectively pulled the eight buildings out of foreclosure. Vantage and AREA had bought the eight buildings in 2007 and then defaulted on the $70 million mortgage. The bondholders sued them in 2011 to foreclosure.

Sentinel paid $36.3 million for the four buildings in that portfolio in 2012, and $9.4 million for the building at 838 Riverside Drive in 2011, records show.

Last month, Sentinel bought a three-building Brighton Beach multifamily portfoliofrom Heller Realty for $57 million.

Sternhell also owns a six-story, 24-unit rental building at 3450-3456 Broadway in Hamilton Heights, records show. His partner Spira bought a Bedford-Stuyvesant rental building on Myrtle Avenue with investor Eli Gibber for $3.9 million earlier this year.

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