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NEW YORK CITY-A mere three weeks after completing the $10.5-million purchase of a 30,000-sf Harlem parcel, currently a block-long strip of low-rise residential and retail buildings, new owner Jeff Sutton is already in talks with a number of “large-box retailers” and “household name developers” to discuss build-to-suit options for the site.

David Rosenberg of Manhattan-based Robert K. Futterman & Assoc., who brokered the $10.5-million purchase along with fellow executive vice president Barry Fishbach, tells GlobeSt.com that the recent explosion of retail development in the area makes this site particularly attractive.

“It’s the nature of the property coupled with its close proximity to a major shopping center that makes knocking it down a possibility,” Rosenberg says. The largely-vacant site is located across the street from the $80-million Harlem Center project. “He [Sutton] has been talking to developers about joint-venturing, and is also considering non-traditional retail on the property.”

Several small retailers currently occupy the 100-112 W. 125th St. property, which runs the entire block of Lenox Avenue between 124th and 125th streets. Most of the remaining space is taken up by vacant apartments. Seller Juneglory Realty Inc., which owned and managed the property for 40 years, was represented in the transaction by Alan Bourne of Grubb & Ellis.

Rosenberg attributes the recent surge of retail development in the area to the ongoing New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development-sponsored HomeWorks Program, designed to redevelop condemned residential properties, many of which have languished for decades. “The growing population moving into Harlem is more diverse and affluent than the traditional demographic for that area,” he says. “That, coupled with the expansion of what was traditionally a 1.5-block shopping district is why you see so many retailers and investors looking to Harlem as a new frontier to delve into.” The largest recent development is the 275,000 sf Harlem USA center, completed in 1999.

Investor Jeff Sutton also recently closed a 9,000-sf buy located at 125th and St. Nicholas streets, which he plans to re-lease. “He typically re-rents the properties he purchases,” Rosenberg tells GlobeSt.com.

Additional recent projects include the $40-million “green” building development: an 225,000 affordable-housing complex to be located at 1400 Fifth Ave. and the 30,000 SF Yuco mixed-use development, reported yesterday on GlobeSt.com.

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