Bay Ridge

Nathan’s Famous buyer sold property to city for twice the price

July 12, 2019 Meaghan McGoldrick
It’s official -- the 86th Street Nathan’s will serve its last hot dog on Jan. 6. Eagle photo by Ted General

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.

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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 Bensonhurst, 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 against 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.)

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, said the price is worth paying.

“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,” he told the Eagle.

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

A spokesperson for the SCA said Monday that there was competition for the site: Ziss had been offered a 10-year lease with renewal options by a potential tenant, which the spokesperson said was a major national grocer.

Update (July 15 at 5:43 p.m.): This story has been updated with additional information from SCA. A quote was removed as it was found not to meet the Eagle’s standards for anonymous attribution.


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