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Gyrodyne aims to sell properties, voluntarily unwind business

The Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information

The Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology building at Stony Brook University, seen on April 1, 2011, is on land taken from Gyrodyne by eminent domain. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Gyrodyne LLC, the St. James real estate company that won a $167.5 million settlement in 2012 from New York State in an eminent domain battle, hopes to sell its assets and voluntarily unwind its operations by the end of 2018, the company’s chief executive said.

Gary Fitlin, president and CEO, said in a telephone interview this week that a $1 per share special dividend will be sent to the company’s public shareholders in July. The $1 special dividend represents the $2 million in net proceeds from selling two buildings in the Port Jefferson Professional Park.

The value of the company’s remaining assets — calculated at $17.97 per share as of June 23 — would be sent to stockholders after Gyrodyne’s properties are sold, Fitlin said.

Gyrodyne hopes to increase the value of its primary asset, the 62-acre Flowerfield property in St. James, by getting approval from the Town of Smithtown for a 150-room hotel and restaurant, medical office buildings and assisted living buildings. Another significant holding is a medical office park in Westchester County’s Cortlandt Manor.

Fitlin said Gyrodyne’s subdivision plan with the Town of Smithtown would leave open space for walking trails in accordance with the “vision” of the municipality.

“We’re not interested in extended debate with the town,” Fitlin said.

But he acknowledged that the effort to get the town’s clearance makes the timing of Gyrodyne’s voluntary liquidation uncertain.

“We’re hoping by the end of 2018,” he said. But “the town is in control of the process.”

Gyrodyne’s shares closed Thursday at $20.65, up 34 cents, on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

New York State’s $167.5 million payment to Gyrodyne stemmed from a 2006 lawsuit over a 245.4-acre parcel of company land that was condemned under eminent domain and annexed to Stony Brook University. Gyrodyne argued that the land — now the site of Stony Brook’s Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology — was worth more than the $26.3 million the state initially paid.

Fitlin, formerly Gyrodyne’s chief financial officer, was named chief executive May 1 after Frederick Braun stepped down, effective April 30.

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