$203M AT&T Building Redevelopment Moving Forward

John Jordan | September 2018

Rose Associates' rendering of 440 Hamilton Ave.

WHITE PLAINS—The more than $200-million plan by New York City developer Rose Associates to redevelop what has been considered for years an eyesore—the AT&T building in Downtown White Plains—into a mixed-use project that would feature 468 rental apartment units cleared a major hurdle, but with one caveat.

The Westchester County Industrial Development Agency granted a resolution of intent to provide more than $5 million in incentives for the Rose Associates’ project to redevelop 440 Hamilton Ave. into a mixed-use property that will include 255 rental apartment units and approximately 3,400 square feet of ground floor commercial space.

In addition, Rose plans to convert an adjoining surfaced parking lot with a mid-rise building of six and seven stories that would contain another 213 units of rental housing. The development, per requirements agreed to with the City of White Plains, will have 6% of the units that will be affordable at 80% of the Westchester County area median income. The White Plains City Council approved the project on Sept. 4.

In attendance at the IDA session on Thursday were a number of representatives of the unionized building trades, including Louis Picani, president of Teamsters and Chauffeurs Local 456 in Elmsford, and John Coffey, business agent for Local 46 of the Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Union of New York City, who pressed the IDA that projects receiving public funding should be undertaken with local union labor.

In its IDA application, Rose Associates stated that the company did not intend to enter a project labor agreement with the Building & Construction Trades Council of Westchester & Putnam Counties. However, during the IDA session, Picani, who said he was speaking for Edward Doyle, the president of the Building Trades Council, and Whiting Turner Contracting Co. vice president David Brickley both concurred that the firm and the building trades have held meetings about crafting a PLA for the project. Whiting Turner Contracting is the general contractor for the project.

Prior to the vote IDA Chairperson Joan McDonald, said, “I would like to propose to the Board is that we proceed with the vote on the inducement with the caveat that Whiting Turner/Rose Associates continue to meet with organized labor to hopefully reach a mutually agreed upon path on this project.”

The Westchester County IDA subsequently unanimously approved the resolution of intent with the caveat that talks continue between the developer and organized labor.

A public hearing on the IDA inducements for the project has yet to be set.

Rose Associates, in its application for incentives to the Westchester County IDA, estimated the cost of the redevelopment at $202,917,835. The company is hoping to secure approximately $3.34 million in sales tax exemptions and nearly $1.69 million in mortgage tax exemptions. David Steinmetz, a partner with Zarin & Steinmetz of White Plains, said the developer is currently negotiating a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) with the White Plains School District.

Michael Adamo, director of development for Rose Associates, told the IDA Board that market rate apartments at the development will be priced at $2,000 to $2,300 for studios; $2,400 to $2,600 for one-bedrooms and $2,600 to $3,000 for two-bedroom units, although he said the firm would be looking at the market to determine the pricing for the project.

Adamo said that the retail component of the project would include a “Green Grocer” to service the Hamilton Avenue region.

Adamo said that Rose Associates would like to begin construction on the project in the spring of 2019 and that the development would take 24 to 28 months to complete.

Steinmetz said the project would create approximately 659 construction jobs as well as seven retail jobs and another 18 jobs in connection with the apartment development.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth