UPDATE: After this article was originally published, a Simone Development spokesperson sent the following statement:
“Despite rumors in the market, Simone Development has not been and does not plan to be a bidder for this asset.”
A sizable warehouse property that sits between Bassett Avenue and Marconi Street in Morris Park was reportedly being sold.
Towards the end of March 2018, rumors emerged about the possible sale of the Modell’s Sporting Goods distribution center located adjacent to the Metro North rail tracks.
The property was mentioned by both The Real Deal and Crains Business as closing in on a sale for a figure approaching $100 million.
Community leaders, although not knowledgable of the sale, were not surprised by the news.
While the potential buyer is not yet identified, many speculated Simone Development Companies was the logical candidate for the site, since the real estate firm owns the adjacent Hutch Metro Center.
Simone is a real estate investment company whose specialty is acquisition and development of commercial, healthcare, industrial, retail and residential properties in the tri-state area, according to their website.
Simone developed the Metro Center Atrium, which houses a Marriot Residence Inn and LA Fitness, the Hutchinson Metro Center’s 1200 Waters Place whose tenants include Mercy College, IRS and NYS Housing Authority and two towers at 1250 Waters Place, several parking garages on the former Bronx Developmental Center grounds and is currently preparing to develop the large Bronx Psychiatric Hospital parcel they purchased last year.
A real estate source with knowledge of the area said the warehouse’s structural configuration did not look like it had the ability to be repurposed into another type of facility or structure.
However, the source mentioned Simone also dealt in warehouses, not just retail or medical space.
The nearly 300,000 square foot warehouse currently sits in an M1-1 zone, which allows for industrial use, according to the NYC Zoning & Land Use map.
The purchase would be strategic regardless of the property’s intended use, said the source.
The 12 acre site would be a valuable asset because of the planned Metro North station, which is expected to be sited within walking distance of the property.
A representative of Simone said the company could not comment on the media reports at this time.
While Simone’s bid on the Modell’s property remained speculative, the sporting goods retailer’s warehouse staff and drivers confirmed something is in the works.
Several Modell’s employees at the distribution center said there was talk the facility would be moving, but no other information was known.
On Tuesday, April 3 the distribution center appeared to be going about its regular day-to-day affairs.
Modell’s management posted three job openings at the distribution center on March 18, one for a truck driver, one for a security guard, and one for an associate at the center.
Marlene Cintron, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, said it would be a big deal if Modell’s truly planned on leaving, because of how reputable they were as an employer, though she had no direct knowledge of a planned sale of the warehouse.
The warehouse was formerly used by the Farberware company, a popular housewares manufacturer that was sold and relocated outside the state several decades ago until 1996 when Modell’s took over the site, according to public records.
Modell’s Sporting Goods has been owned by the Modell family since 1889 and is the country’s oldest family-owned sporting goods retailer in the country with more than 150 stores in the northeast, according to their website.