ITHACA, N.Y. — The overall economy has its stresses and uncertainities, but real estate has remained solid. In the latest vote of confidence in Ithaca, Arnot Realty has acquired a recently-completed Downtown apartment building for an eight-digit price.

The purchase of 140 Seneca Way was finalized earlier this week. According to the Tompkins County Clerk’s office, the sale price was $14.5 million, to a limited-liability company (LLC) with Arnot’s address. The seller was an LLC comprised of local businessman Bryan Warren and Newman Development Group of Vestal. The $14.5 million sale price is substantially more than the assessed value of the building, which the Department of Tax Assessment has at $7.6 million.

A quick side note, LLCs are common with larger real estate transactions as they offer simplified tax bills, liability protections and more flexibility on ownership arrangements for groups of investors. They also offer a certain degree of anonymity, though it’s a moot point when you use your business address for the LLC instead of your lawyer’s or a P.O. Box.

The source of considerable debate in the early 2010s and opening in 2014, the 53,200 square-foot mixed-use 140 Seneca Way building consists of 38 luxury apartments (33 one-bedroom, five two-bedroom) over 9,000 square feet of Class A office space, situated above an under-building parking garage. Arnot has already launched the new web page for prospective apartment tenants.

“This is an exciting milestone for Arnot Realty.  We are thrilled to expand our presence in Ithaca with a property that complements our other multi-family and mixed use properties in the market as we continue our growth.  This is our sixth acquisition in the market since our initial investment in 2019 and we look forward to more in the future,” said Peter Dugo, President and CEO of Arnot Realty.

Horseheads-based Arnot has dived head-first into the Ithaca market in recent years. Since their initial buy-in to the 16-unit Boathouse Landing project on Taughannock Boulevard, Arnot has purchased several existing multi-family projects on West Green Street (4 units), Spencer Road (14 units), and is developing the 129-unit West End Ironworks project on the 400 Block of West State Street. Arnot was also the winning bidder at the auction of the NYS DOT waterfront site at the end of Third Street, with a $3.79 million bid.

Another way to look at it is, they’re pursuing a mix of opportunities. Some properties they buy are for new development projects, while other purchases are existing newer buildings with little to no need for renovation, but they see as a good fit in their real estate portfolio. 140 Seneca Way is an example of the latter, a newer building they like for the location and have no intentions to change.

As my colleague Matt Butler noted yesterday, even with the economic twists and turns of the pandemic-impacted economy, housing remains in strong demand. For real estate firms, the Ithaca area continues to be a good opportunity – or in Arnot’s case, 14.5 million opportunities.

Brian Crandall

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