Westchester County IDA Set to Grant Approvals For $1.3 Billion in New Development Projects

John Jordan | May 2019

60 South Broadway

WHITE PLAINS—The Westchester County Industrial Development Agency recently granted preliminary approvals for incentives for four major projects in Downtown White Plains and along the I-287 corridor that combined will involve more than $1.3 billion in new development.

The four projects approved at IDA sessions in March and April will create an estimated more than 3,100 construction jobs and more than 500 full- and part-time jobs in the City of White Plains.

The IDA in a session held at the Westchester County Office Building in White Plains on March 29 granted preliminary inducement for the nearly $600-million redevelopment of the current White Plains Mall and the approximately $500-million redevelopment of the former Westchester Pavilion Mall. Both mixed-use projects will offer a total of 1,674 rental apartments and some mostly ground floor retail space.

A senior living facility, to be located on what is now an at grade parking lot, will be developed across the street from the Bloomingdale’s department store on Bloomingdale Road and will add 132 senior living units to the city’s housing stock. Michael Glynn, vice president of National Development of Brooklyn and Lower Falls, MA, estimated the project, which will also include the construction of a parking garage, will cost between $115 million to $120 million to build.

The redevelopment of the current White Plains Mall by owner WP Mall Realty, LLC will involve the demolition of the 170,000-square-foot existing mall at 200 Hamilton Ave. The “Hamilton Green” project will entail 860 apartment units in four buildings with 10% of the units earmarked as affordable.

Other major components include 84,500 square feet of specialty retail and restaurant space, including a Food and Craft Hall, 27,000 square feet of office space, an approximately 956-space parking garage and open space.

Kenneth Narva, managing partner of Street-Works Development of Port Chester, said that the public platform component of the project, which he described as “Privately-Operated Public Space,” will include 67,000 square feet of space that “will be transformational” and is projected to cost approximately $100 million to complete. He said the overall project totals 1.35 million square feet.

The project is being built on a brownfield. Narva said the overall project will take about four-and-a-half years to build. Demolition of the existing White Plains Mall will begin this summer, however, Narva told the IDA it will take about one-year to stabilize the property in dealing with the brownfield issues. He said that in addition to his firm Street-Works, the current owner of the property, as well as possible additional joint venture partners, could be involved in the development of the project.

Hamilton Green is expected to create 1,450 construction jobs and 500 permanent full-time jobs upon completion. The applicant is seeking the IDA to approve approximately $14 million in sales tax exemptions and $3.5 million in mortgage tax exemptions.

Hamilton Green

The redevelopment of the former Westchester Pavilion mall at 60 South Broadway has been delayed while Lennar Multifamily Communities revised its original plan that had called for 707 multifamily units and 85,000 square feet of retail space.

The Westchester Pavilion Mall has been demolished to make way for the new development.

Lennar Multifamily, which developing a more than $223-million multifamily project at 131 Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains, has increased the number of apartments to 814 units and has significantly decreased the retail component to more than 28,000 square feet at 60 South Broadway. The development will be built in two phases. Each phase of the project is expected to cost more than $250 million, according to the developer’s filing with the IDA.

Greg Belew, City President, NY Metro Area, for Lennar Multifamily, said the project would be undertaken in two phases and would involve two, 28-story tower buildings.

Lennar has secured mostly all approvals, but is seeking a 20-year PILOT agreement with the City of White Plains and its School District.

Lennar is looking to have the IDA approve sales tax exemptions of $5.5 million in phase one and $5.4 million in phase two; mortgage tax exemptions of $1.25 million in phase one and $1.25 million in phase two and property tax abatements of $28 million in phase one and $30 million in phase two.

Construction of the first phase is expected to begin in June 2020, with occupancy in September 2022. The second phase will begin construction in June 2022, with occupancy in September 2024.

The IDA also was given a presentation of a senior living project called “Waterstone” that will be built on Bloomingdale Road. The project will involve a five-story, 132-unit independent living facility.

Being proposed by a special entity of three Massachusetts-based firms—National Development, EPOCH Senior Living, Inc., and Charles River Realty Investors, the partnership will acquire 120 Bloomingdale Road, the 2.56-acre site of an existing at grade parking lot. The partnership plans to acquire 120 Bloomingdale Road as well as an easement right to build a new parking structure at an adjacent property, according to its IDA filing.

In connection with the development of the project, National Development is making a voluntary $1.2 million contribution to the White Plains Affordable Housing Fund.

The project is expected to take 22 months to complete.

The development partnership is seeking IDA approval of more than $2.4 million in sales tax exemptions and $780,481.78 in mortgage tax exemptions.

Eon S. Nichols, an attorney with the law firm Cuddy & Feder LLP who represented all three development firms before the IDA in March, stated that all three firms are in negotiations with the unionized building trades regarding hiring local labor. The Westchester County IDA and the Building & Construction Trades Council of Westchester and Putnam Counties are in talks to craft workforce requirements for development firms seeking public assistance.

Nichols also said that all three development firms have been in contact with Con Edison regarding the utility’s recently imposed (March 15) moratorium on new natural gas connection hookups for most of Westchester County.

Lennar’s Belew said that one possible way to deal with the natural gas moratorium is to build a project with a back-up heating system that could be switched from natural gas during peak usage periods.

RPW Group Proposes Apartment Project Adjacent to 1133 Westchester Avenue

A long-anticipated project to be built next to the 1133 Westchester office building received preliminary inducement from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency for incentives.

Rye-based developer RPW Group has been studying a host of potential projects next to its 1133 Westchester office building, which formerly housed IBM, but was repurposed as a multi-tenant office building. RPW Group is the owner of the 1133 Westchester Ave. office building whose tenants now include ITT Corp., Wilson Elser law firm, the Hospital for Special Surgery, the Jackson Lewis law firm, Chubb Insurance and The Journal News.

Robert Weisz’s RPW Group is partnering with Cleveland-based NRP Group on a $95-million multifamily project on a 20-acre parcel next to the office building that is expected to break ground in February 2020 and be completed in February 2022.

The IDA Board at its April 18th session granted the project preliminary approval of $1.82 million in sales tax exemptions. The development partnership is also seeking a PILOT agreement from the City of White Plains valued at $10.5 million in tax abatements over a 15-year term. The project is expected to create 120 construction jobs and eight full-time jobs.

The development plan calls for a total of 303 units that will consist of a mix of one- two- and three-bedroom apartments. A total of 19 units would be affordable to those making 60% of average median income. The apartments will be housed in three separate five-story buildings.

Planned amenities at the property include a fitness center, pool and business lounge. The complex will also feature a 12,000-square-foot public outdoor recreation space. The project would be built to LEED certifiable standards and include rooftop solar panels on all three buildings and on-site electric vehicle charging stations. There will be shuttle service provided to tenants to Downtown White Plains and the White Plains Metro-North train station.

“We are pleased to provide preliminary approval for this innovative residential development that will bring rental housing to the I-287 office corridor. This project is part of an emerging trend which has seen the transformation of vacant office parks into new uses such as Wegmans supermarket, Life Time Athletic fitness center and a pediatric care ambulatory facility for Montefiore Medical Center,” said Bridget Gibbons, director of the Westchester County Office of Economic Development.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth