ITHACA, N.Y. –– It’s not every day you see deeds with these kinds of numbers. The City Centre mixed-use project in Downtown Ithaca was officially sold yesterday, according to the Tompkins County Clerk’s Office. The price? $75 million.

Newman Development Group (NDG) of Vestal opened the 218,000 square-foot mixed-use building on the 300 Block of East State Street back in 2019. The development includes 192 apartments and amenity space for tenants, and 10,600 square feet of ground-level retail space. It cost a little over $52 million to build.

“We could not be prouder and (more) pleased with the final product, as our collective initial vision has come to fruition,” wrote Newman on behalf of himself and his business partners. “Our current partnership has decided to sell City Centre…we were very selective in choosing a purchaser who we believe will operate the building to the standards we have.”

The project was passively offered for sale back in December 2019. NDG Principal Marc Newman described it at the time as a “gauging of interest” to get an idea of the building’s worth given its unique size and assets. The bids on that passive sales offering closed and no sale happened at that time. However, Newman did state to Voice staff at the time that if someone was willing to pay a high enough price, that his firm would consider selling. While it’s not clear what offers were made back in December 2019, $75 million now in March 2021 is substantially more than the cost to develop and construct.

The buyers of the building are Adam Ross and Jonas Seider, principals at New York-based CREM Capital. The real estate investment firm specializes in multifamily housing and student housing, and while City Centre is not explicitly marketed to renters as student housing, a good number of downtown residents are graduate and professional students at Cornell University.

Since the project is still under a graduated-payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement, the sale had to be approved by the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency. The sale was approved at the IDA’s February meeting. In paperwork filed with the IDA, Newman and buyer Adam Ross both state that there will be no changes in the operation or management of the property. Greystar, the current management firm, will be kept on by the new owners. Newman has also stated that he will personally remain involved in the management of the property with the new owners.

Newman said back in 2019 he wanted to see if Ithaca was considered a hot market. With a $75 million sale in the books, it looks like that even with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the market still looks pretty good.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.