Real-Estate

Plans Filed for Inwood Site Seized from Drug Kingpin

5055 Broadway and Timber Equities’ Jeff Torkin (Google Maps, LinkedIn)

Six years ago, a parking lot in Inwood was seized by the federal authorities alongside more than half a million dollars in cash, a trove of gold jewelry, three rifles and a Louis Vuitton bag.

The land belonged to Manuel Geovanny Rodriguez-Perez, a drug kingpin known as “Shorty” who was sentenced to life in prison in 2017 for nine murders, 10 attempted murders and selling large quantities of marijuana. Now it will become housing in one of the first projects under Inwood’s rezoning.

Timber Equities will rip up the 100-car lot to build an 11-story rental building. It will offer 60 apartments, 25 percent of which will have below-market rents under Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, which applies because of the rezoning.

Supporters had touted such outcomes in pushing the rezoning through the City Council, but opponents said it would trigger gentrification and sued. The rezoning suffered an initial setback in court but emerged intact late last year.

Timber Equities had been eyeing the lot at 5055 Broadway since it first came up for auction in 2019 but the firm didn’t jump into the bidding until later in 2020 when the rezoning seemed more likely to be realized, according to principal Jeff Torkin.

Timber Equities bought the site for $3.4 million last October. Building the project will cost about $12 million, according to the developer’s application filed with the Building Department.

Torkin said he wasn’t aware of the site’s notorious past ownership.

“We’re just focused on bringing luxury rentals to the city with the affordable component and I think that’s what New York City is about,” he said. “Taking underutilized land and getting its best and highest use.”

The building will include a rooftop terrace, gym, recreation area, bike parking and retail space. Torkin said it was too early to give a price range for the market-rate rentals. But the developer hopes to break ground early next year.

Timber is working on two other luxury rental projects, in the Bronx neighborhood of Riverdale.

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