Real estate firm sells Hicksville industrial site for 10 times its investment

One of the last large tracts of industrial property in Nassau County sold to a global asset management firm for more than 10 times the price paid for the 15-acre site less than four years ago.

Brookfield Asset Management spent $45 million on the Hicksville property, sources familiar with the sale said. Brookfield’s real estate fund plans to build a 300,000-square-foot warehouse distribution hub.

The deal was announced Monday by the seller, Simone Development Companies, a Bronx-based real estate investment firm that paid $4.42 million for the land in December 2017, according to a deed.

Finding a large property in Nassau County that can be used for industrial work without zoning changes is quite a feat, according to Jim MacDonald, vice president and director of leasing and acquisitions for Simone Development.

“It’s rare to find a tract of this size that’s zoned industrial,” said MacDonald, who represented the company in sale negotiations. “Industrial land in Nassau County is few and far between.”

Manufacturers have used the 125 New South Rd. site to make plastics, latex and polyester, but the property has sat vacant for years, Simone Development said.

Brookfield Properties, which manages real estate on behalf of Brookfield Asset Management, envisions activity returning to the property around summer 2023, when two high-ceiling warehouses that meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for green buildings are completed.

“Brookfield Properties plans to develop two LEED-certified, Class-A distribution facilities totaling over 300,000 square feet featuring 36 [foot] clear height, with an existing rail spur, ample dock positions and above average car or van parking,” Brookfield spokesperson Kerri McHugh Hayes said in a statement. Future tenants will likely include e-commerce and third-party logistic companies, she said.

Oyster Bay received a development application for 125 New South Rd. days ago, which is just entering the town’s review process, according to town spokeswoman Marta Kane.

Brookfield Asset Management, which has corporate offices in Manhattan, did not respond when asked if it would seek tax benefits for the project. The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency, which authorizes such incentives, has not received an application related to that site, a spokesperson said.

In 1945, The Rubber Company of America built a facility on the property, where plastics and latex were manufactured, according to Simone Development. The site was then used for polyester production.

The site became part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program for hazardous properties in 1986. The EPA said the land has since been cleaned up and no longer poses a threat, although groundwater treatment and monitoring is ongoing. Industrial wastewater discharge as well as leaks and chemical spills contaminated the soil and groundwater during the Hicksville land’s long history as a manufacturing hub.

A later property owner, the Bayer Corp., decided in 2002 to demolish the facility, Simone Development said. The firm said the tract has been vacant since at least December 2017, when a deed shows Simone Development purchased it from Covestro LLC, a Bayer spinoff.