Real estate company seeks $20M for New York City mausoleum high-rise

Rest in peace and luxury: Average prices are expected to top $65,000 for crypts and $17,000 for niches for funerary urns

By Darla Mercado

May 26, 2015 @ 12:01 am EST

A New York real estate company is seeking funding for a new kind of high-rise in the heart of Manhattan: a mausoleum for the deep-pocketed deceased.

United Realty is organizing a $20 million offering for qualified investors who'd like to get in on the ground floor of 1532 Madison Avenue — a 10-story tomb for the wealthy, located in East Harlem, according to a confidential memorandum. The proposed building will be located at Madison Avenue and 104th Street, near Central Park and the Lexington Avenue subway.

United Realty is a privately held firm that invests in and develops real estate properties, provides strategic advice to clients on complex real estate transactions, and through affiliates, sponsors and advises real estate investment trusts, according to its website.

The memorandum describes a “proposed high-rise mausoleum development” that “includes a stately lobby with reception/event space and areas of worship for various faiths.” Indoors, the space commands a net square footage of 45,413 square feet. The plot of land where the building is to be constructed has an acquisition price of $15 million, plus $5 million more for closing and predevelopment expenses. The entire project is expected to cost $60 million.

Jacob Frydman, chairman and CEO of United Realty, declined to comment on the offering documents and the project, citing their confidentiality.

The memorandum points to a shift in New York City's demographics as a major factor behind the project's creation. It claims that the number of residents over age 65 in New York City will increase 41% by 2040, reaching 1.4 million people.

Given the crunch for space in the five boroughs, it might be time to take a vertical approach to burials, the memorandum suggests.

“We believe the vertical mausoleum concept, a proven alternative successfully established in similar dense urban centers such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Santos, Brazil, offers a unique opportunity to serve untapped demand in New York City,” the memorandum states.

The burial vaults at 1532 Madison Avenue are expected to have a minimum of 2,900 crypts and 5,200 niches for funerary urns. A final resting place for the well-heeled will start at $40,000 for crypts and $8,000 for niches, but average prices are expected to top $65,000 for crypts and $17,000 for niches, according to the memorandum. United Realty projects a total sell-out of $284 million and an expected equity profit of $106 million, or about $5.3 million per $1 million invested, according to the memorandum.

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