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New Gyrodyne CEO: Looking to buy property

The new chief executive of Gyrodyne Co. of America, a St. James-based real estate investment trust, said the company is looking at additional property to purchase and add to its portfolio by next year.

The purchases will stem from the damages the company received from New York State last summer in a lawsuit over Gyrodyne land the state had condemned, said Frederick Braun, the new president and chief executive. The company will try to focus on buying properties in the New York metropolitan area, he added.

Gyrodyne, a publicly traded REIT with a stock market value of about $110 million, primarily invests in industrial and service-oriented buildings. On Long Island, the company owns office property in St. James and Port Jefferson Station.

The company received around $98 million in damages as part of the litigation, and will need to reinvest it in real estate by 2014 if they do not want to be taxed on payout, Braun said. Company officials had said last July that the company will use the money from damages to continue to pursue a previously announced "liquidity event" to increase shareholder value.

Braun was appointed the head of the company in February, after a six-month search following the resignation of Gyrodyne's last chief executive in August 2012. He also serves as chair of the Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency, a position he has held for the last 25 years.

Braun retired from a 46-year career in commercial banking in 2009, when he left his role as executive vice president of State Bank of Long Island. (The bank has since been acquired by Valley National Bancorp.) Since then, Braun said he has done financial consulting on the side while continuing to serve on boards of local nonprofits.

Returning to work "feels very good," Braun said, adding that he is happy to be "back in the game."

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