This section is from the book "Practical Real Estate Methods For Broker, Operator & Owner", by Thirty Experts. Also available from Amazon: Practical Real Estate Methods for Broker, Operator, Owner.
The Morris family owned a large part of this section and, in generation after generation, it was split up among different members. Gerard Morris sold in 1853 a plot of ground at the Southwest corner of 149th Street and Third Avenue, where Hegeman's drug store is now located, to John Nimphius. It fronted 150 feet on what was then Benson Street. Nimphius kept a little tavern there for a number of years. He paid $300 for the land he occupied. Along about 1895 he sold two lots on the
Third Avenue side for about $9,500. The property then had been widened by the opening of Third Avenue. About 1896 the city commenced to widen 149th Street and cut a strip of about nine feet wide off his property. He got an award from the city for this piece of $40,000. In 1900 or 1901 I myself sold the balance of this property for the sons for $70,000. That is $119,500 for an investment of $300, to say nothing of the use of the property for fifty years. That is what buying in a center means.
Now, it doesn't require any great judgment for that. You can look around in the Bronx and in Brooklyn and find old lanes running to a center in the same way.
The northwest corner of Westchester Avenue and Third Avenue was purchased in 1888 by Mr. Franklin A. Wilcox for $48,000 - $8,000 cash and $40,000 on mortgage. This piece fronted about 150 feet on Third Avenue and 200 feet on Westchester Avenue and was encumbered with old frame buildings. Mr. Wilcox kept that piece of property until the early part of 1905 - some three years ago - when I sold it for him for $295,000 - all cash. That is what he made on his original investment of $8,000. During the sixteen or seventeen years he held it the property returned an average rent of four or five thousand dollars a year. This is another example of the result of buying in business centers.