Ginsburg-Robert Martin to Redevelop Key Downtown White Plains Complex

John Jordan | April 2018

A portion of the Westchester Financial Center office complex in Downtown White Plains will feature luxury rental apartments, as well as restaurant and retail space.

WHITE PLAINS— Two veteran Westchester County developers–Martin Ginsburg and Robert Weinberg—pioneers and icons in their respective sectors are teaming up on a project that can finally provide a suitable gateway to Downtown White Plains from the White Plains Train station.

The two developers are embarking on a redevelopment of a more than 500,00-square-foot office complex in Downtown White Plains that will convert a portion of the existing office space to luxury rental apartments, as well as introduce restaurant and retail space to the area.

Entities affiliated with the principals of Ginsburg Development Companies of Valhalla and Robert Martin Co. of Elmsford, NY acquired the Westchester Financial Center, a three-building, 571,000-square-foot office complex from Mack-Cali Realty Corp. for $83 million. The Westchester Financial Center was built in the mid-1980s by Robert Martin Co. as a three-building complex. The property was acquired in 1997 by the Cali Realty Corp. as part of its acquisition of the Robert Martin Co. Cali was later acquired by Mack Co. and subsequently operates as Mack-Cali Realty.

Martin Ginsburg, founder and principal of Ginsburg Development, says the new ownership plans to spend millions of dollars in the conversion of a portion of the office space to luxury rental apartments as well as the introduction of retail space and a host of new amenities at the property. The three-building complex will be renamed City Square.

The Westchester Financial Center includes 50 Main St. a 15-story, 309,000-square-foot office building and 1-11 Martin Ave., an attached-two building, 14-story, 262,000-square-foot complex that formerly housed Pace University’s graduate programs. Ginsburg says that while the 50 Main St. property will continue to operate as an office building, at least six floors of the former Pace University space at 1-11 Martin Ave. will be converted from office to rental apartments and each building will feature its own new lobby and elevator banks.

The complex encompasses an entire city block across the street from the White Plains Metro-North train station, which is currently undergoing a $94-million improvement project.

Ginsburg Development acquired the adjoining 124-unit, 12-story rental apartment building at 25 Martine Ave. in February 2017 from the DSF Group for $35.25 million. The property is now known as The Metro.

Ginsburg says the redevelopment will likely involve the addition of between 150 to 175 residential units. The redeveloped complex will retain approximately 400,000 square feet of the existing office space. Plans are being finalized and will be presented to the City of White Plains for approval in the near future.

“I have always admired this important gateway complex and so we are thrilled to be working with Robert Martin Co. and its founder Bob Weinberg on this exciting project that will reinvent these iconic buildings as a key component of the new 24-hour live-work-play environment envisioned by the City of White Plains at its gateway and train station,” says Ginsburg.

“The tenants and office brokers are all very excited about what’s going to be happening at 50 Main and 1-11 Martine. It’s going to be very special,” Weinberg adds.

Improvements planned at 50 Main St. include a new lobby and an entire floor of amenities—a fitness center, yoga studio, game room, lounge and business center. The café will be renovated and expanded to have indoor and outdoor dining. The lobby will be extended, and new art and sculpture displays will also be added.

The complex also features a two-acre central court. Ginsburg notes the redevelopment will enhance the central court with a quarter-mile “walk-around,” a water feature and sculptures. The central court that will be restricted for tenant and residents use will also offer a host of gathering places, such as an outdoor lounge and sun deck. The garage will also be upgraded with new lighting and signage.

“Projects such as City Square align with the goals of the White Plains Transit District Strategic Plan, including activating the street with retail and restaurants, new residential units, improved pedestrian experience, placemaking, and proximity to mass transit. I am pleased to see it moving forward,” states White Plains Mayor Tom Roach.

“We really want to make this special both inside and out,” Ginsburg says. “It is very important to us and to the city that this unique opportunity to create a special gateway place not be lost. I am very aware that the opportunity to make this pedestrian-friendly and active the street here on this key block is very important to the whole vision that White Plains is trying to achieve.”

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth