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Art Deco post office in the Bronx hits the market for $75 million

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A developer has decided to say farewell to a landmarked post office that has been the focus of dreams about the turnaround of the South Bronx.

Chelsea-based Youngwoo & Associates, which helped transform a dilapidated Manhattan cargo warehouse into the food hall complex Pier 57, has listed 558 Grand Concourse for about $75 million.

In 2014 Youngwoo paid $19 million for the 4-story, 175,000-square-foot government property, public records show. Afterward it invested $40 million to renovate the upper floors of the full-block, Art Deco site, which besides housing a small postal facility is also home to Zona de Cuba, a five-year-old Cuban restaurant.

“While development plans are to be unveiled at a future date, [Youngwoo] intends to build upon the property’s legacy as a trophy of the Bronx and an iconic gateway to the borough,” said a statement from the developer from around when it bought the property, a major bet on the area at the time. A food hall was once considered for the property, which is at East 149th Street.

With the revival of the area in full swing, the brokers now marketing the property expect the eye-catching edifice to attract a single occupant, which would presumably use it for classrooms, offices or as a medical facility, though the existing leases would transfer with it.

“The area has gotten tremendously better in the last decade,” said James Nelson, the Avison Young broker handling the sale. “And this is not just some old warehouse.”

Nelson added that since Youngwoo purchased the property, which was accomplished with the help of a $12.4 million loan from Cathay Bank, the South Bronx has become awash with residential development. Indeed, developers have added 62,000 new homes in the past decade, he said, and nearly 17,000 are planned, he pointed out.

The 1935 granite-and-marble Bronx Central Annex, whose facade features tall, arched windows and two mounted statues, received local landmark status for its exterior in 1976.

“The elegant simplicity of the building with its finely executed details make[s] it one of the best examples of government architecture in this style,” says the official report compiled for the designation. “It met a long-felt need in the Bronx when built, and continues to serve that function today.”

In 2013 city officials also conferred landmark status on a portion of the inside of the building, a rarity. A series of 13 Great Depression-era murals called “Resources of America,” depicting scenes of workers harvesting wheat and firing furnaces, that was painted by the husband-and-wife team of Ben Shahn and Bernarda Bryson Shahn grace the space.

No. 558 offers 169,000 square feet inside and 4,400 square feet outside, across several terraces, plus 39 parking spaces, its listing shows. The post office leases about 10,000 square feet, and Zona de Cuba occupies 15,000, Nelson added. The terms of those leases was not immediately clear.

Bryan Woo, an executive at Youngwoo, a firm founded in 1979 by his father Young Woo, declined to comment. In addition to Pier 57, Youngwoo served as a developer of 200 11th Ave., a West Chelsea high-rise condo whose apartments come with adjacent garages for cars.

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C. J. Hughes , 2024-05-10 19:07:03

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