The Melrose Building at 260 E 161st Street and Morris Avenue in the heart of The Bronx’s Civic Center was purchased last week for $115 million by Jamestown, the owner of Chelsea Market and Industry City in Brooklyn, and breaks the record as the most expensive building sold in our borough’s history surpassing the sale of Hunts Point’s landmark Banknote building in 2014 for $114 million.
A quick search of public sales records using PropertyShark revealed that no other single building in The Bronx has ever sold for that much going back as 1990.
Over the past years, the building has gone through a multi-million dollar upgrade and renovation including the conversion of the ground floor into retail space which has been since occupied by major national chains like Chipotle, Starbucks, Checkers, Dunkin Donuts, and Walgreens.
The story over at Crain’s calls Jamestown, “…a commercial landlord that has reaped big returns from pushing into emerging neighborhoods for offices…” and that is something that while true, Melrose and the South Bronx is anything but an ’emerging’ market for such properties.
From The Third Avenue Business Improvement District and along its future expansion corridor of 149th Street to 161st Street at the Civic Center, the general area has been the de facto “downtown” area of The Bronx and is no stranger to office buildings.
Any native Bronxite can easily tell you that.
This is not the only Melrose building to sell for such a large sum. Back in March, Michaelangelo Plaza, the 498 unit Mitchell Lama development on Morris and 149th Street sold for $78 million and is currently undergoing major capital improvements as well as a renewal of its affordable Mitchell Lama program for another 40 years.
But a buyer such as Jamestown for the Melrose Building only raises the specter of gentrification in the South Bronx and our borough as developers and landlords continue to barrel into our borough with increased confidence.
Only time will tell if it will pay off for developers and landlords or if it will bust.