BY: STEPHEN SMITH ON JANUARY 27TH 2015 AT 4:15 PM
If you’re looking to put your mark on downtown Jamaica, your time might be now: Epic Commercial Real Estate (once known as Itzhaki Properties) is marketing a large, nearly 50,000-square foot piece of land at 89-02 165th Street, home to the Jamaica Colosseum Mall.
Opened as a Macy’s in 1947 and turned into the Colosseum Mall in the ’80s, the building currently houses a large jewelry exchange and parking garage, but has deteriorated to the point where the most likely use for the property is as a development site.
Fronting on the 165th Street pedestrian mall, 89th Avenue, and 164th Street, the site is a block from Hillside Avenue, in an area “riddled by high foot and auto traffic,” per the listing.
With nearly 250,000 square feet of development rights – commercial or residential – the price the owner wants for the property is not cheap. Asking $45 million, or $180 per buildable square foot, the price would far exceed that of other sites in the area, and would not have been out of the ordinary on Fourth Avenue in Park Slope a few years ago.
In October, a Flushing-based developer paid $22 million for an Archer Avenue parcel with 720,000 square feet of development rights, or just $30 a foot. In December, CPEX was marketing a site with 420,000 square feet of development rights with an asking price of $24 million, or bit under $60 a foot.
At three times the price of the latter site, the $160-a-foot asking price of the Queens Colosseum site partly reflects the existing structure on the site (the mall is still operational, albeit a bit faded since the days when LL Cool J and the Wu-Tang Clan filmed rap videos there), partly reflects the seller’s hubris, but also partly reflects the real estate industry’s growing confidence in downtown Jamaica – a neighborhood once left for dead, but since reinvigorated with a growing South Asian and Central American immigrant population.