It’s not exactly the Majestic Theatre, but Broadway’s biggest landlord is now the proud owner of a picturesque five-story warehouse in the shadow of the cruise ships and piers along Manhattan’s far West Side. As first reported exclusively here in July, the Shubert Organization, which owns 17 of Broadway’s 40 designated theaters (including the Opera Ghost’s crib, the Majestic) has bought the former H.B. Day Warehouse at 604-606 West 48th Street, between 11th Avenue and the West Side Highway. The sale price was $11.25 million, $1.25 million above the $10 million ask, according to New York City documents obtained by Deadline.
Built in 1929, the warehouse is slightly younger than most of the Shubert theaters. Amenities on the 24,000 square-foot building include a full basement, a freight elevator and ground-floor parking, which Shubert executives don’t need, since they already can park for free in Shubert Alley, by the Shubert Theatre, home to Matilda and soon to be bookended by Bradley Cooper’s John Merrick, The Elephant Man, at the Shubert-owned Booth. “The property holds tremendous promise as a headquarters, showroom, production and/or distribution facility for a wide array of firms involved in the media, fashion or service industries,” according to an offering brochure obtained by Deadline.
The deal was set in motion last spring with the formation of “604-606 W 48th St. LLC,” filed with the New York State Secretary of State. The principal of the limited liability corporation is Gilbert C. Hoover IV, the Vice President and General Counsel at Shubert, whose offices are above the Shubert Theatre at 234 W. 44th Street. Hoover did not return a call seeking comment about the purchase.
However, the nonprofit Shubert Organization has been on a buying and spending spree of late. It’s taking over the five-theater off-Broadway New World Stages complex on West 50th Street, at a cost of more than $20 million. Most of the transactions relate to air rights above the landmarked Shubert theaters, which the company can sell to builders looking to add more floors to the skyscrapers now sprouting up like wheat stalks in and around the Theater District. Since 2008, Shubert has grossed some $50 million in sales of air rights, and as a nonprofit corporation, it needs to stash the cash somewhere.
Now it has a new package to pitch: Along with the Day building’s 24,000 actual square feet on the 50-foot-by-100-foot lot is the more ephemeral 1,105 square feet of air rights that come with it. Those rights currently are selling at around $400 per square foot — and rising.