1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites): Brooklyn Eagle: Nathan’s Famous buyer sold property to city for twice the price

The buyer-turned-seller of a storied Nathan’s Famous made a pretty penny in the trade-off to the city’s School Construction Authority, according to city records.

The nearly 20,000-square-foot property at 650 86th St. — on the border of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights — had been an outpost of the fast food giant for more than four decades. It was sold in October 2018 to “660 86 LLC,” which sources at the time said pointed to Efthimios Zisimopoulos, a.k.a. Tim Ziss, of Allied Properties.

An Agreement of Sale confirms Ziss’ affiliation, and a new deed for the property, dated June 25, shows that — while he paid approximately $12.25 million for the property — the SCA dished out about double.

The agency, which is responsible for the acquisition, design and construction of public schools in New York City, paid $25 million for the site, according to the deed.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the corner plot would become a nearly 600-seat middle school in one of the city’s most notoriously overcrowded school districts. District 20 – which encompasses Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and portions of Sunset Park and Borough Park – has a shortfall of nearly 11,000 seats, SCA reps said at a contentious public hearing on the site in March.

While residents argued the site’s location (citing pedestrian safety, congestion and parking, among other issues), SCA spokesperson Tamar Smith stressed the urgent need for more schools in the area. (Smith did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.)

Still, some have wondered whether the hefty price-tag comes at an even higher cost for the city.

“The property isn’t worth more than $12 million, so paying more than double seems completely insane and an unbelievable waste of precious taxpayer money,” someone keeping tabs on Brooklyn real estate, and who wished to remain anonymous, told the Brooklyn Eagle. “How can this even happen?”

According to city records, while the Nathan’s site is among the most expensive of the SCA’s latest acquisitions, it has handed over as much as $75 million in the past for a Manhattan site on Spruce Street. Earlier this year, it paid $20 million for a large site in Staten Island, and another $17.5 million for the school it plans to build on just part of the massive Angel Guardian Home plot in Dyker Heights.

But, not all buys break the bank. The former site of St. Rosalia Church, also in Dyker Heights — cost the SCA just under $10 million in February. One month before, the SCA purchased a property in Sunset Park for just $1.25 million.

Looking at size and scope, the old St. Rosalia Church is slated to become a 350-seat primary school, while the Nathan’s site will serve close to double the students. Meanwhile, the Spruce Street site is now home to P.S. 397, a pre-K-8 school of the same enrollment size (just under 600) that makes the newest District 20 site feel like a steal.

Councilmember Justin Brannan, who represents Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst, stood by the deal — and the need for more sites.

“I’m not sure how anyone could suggest building a new school in one of the most overcrowded districts in the entire city is a waste of taxpayer money. That’s just insane,” he told the Eagle. “We must continue to do whatever we can to improve education for all of our children. Failure to improve our schools is simply not an option.”

A phone call to a number associated with Allied Properties was not immediately returned. (Its answering machine thanked the Eagle for contacting “Axiom Management.”) The Department of Education also did not respond to requests for comment.

A message was also left at the office of Community Education Council 20.


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1. New York and Brooklyn from Michael_Novakhov (111 sites)