The Transformation of the ‘Platinum Mile’ Continues With $400M Project at Former Renaissance Hotel Site
John Jordan | October 3, 2022
HARRISON—The continued adaptive reuse and redevelopment of office properties along the Platinum Mile and particularly in a section in Harrison called the “Teardrop Neighborhood” continues. In recent years, at the former Platinum Mile suburban office corridor in Harrison and White Plains along I-287, developers have torn down or rebuilt underutilized office properties for multifamily and retail uses.
Recently, two family-owned development firms have presented plans to the Town of Harrison to redevelop the former 347-room Renaissance Hotel property into a multi-phased project that will include up to 760 rental apartment units and retail space.
The “Renaissance Harrison” project, which has been estimated to cost approximately $400 million to develop, will involve the demolition of the former hotel and the construction of two residential quads—the North Quad and South Quad—two large gathering spaces to be known as the Commons and the Mansion, and two sets of triplex villas. Neither phase will exceed 380 units, with a mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom luxury apartment homes, many with terraces.
The development team, consisting of Rose Equities and Garden Communities, stated that the community’s architectural design “will celebrate Westchester County’s classic Tudor and Arts & Crafts structures.” Proposed luxury amenities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, fitness centers, tennis courts, fire pits and an outdoor amphitheater, which will be available for the public.
The Renaissance Harrison development will continue the transformation of the “Teardrop Neighborhood” that already includes Toll Brothers’ Carraway multifamily development, Wegman’s supermarket and Life Time Fitness at the former Journal News property.
The 28-acre development will feature multiple four- and five-story buildings and villas with mostly below grade parking.
The Renaissance Westchester Hotel closed during the COVID pandemic and permanently closed in the fall of 2021.
“The proposed 28-acre community will be unlike any other development in Westchester. It will adhere to 21st-century standards of walking and biking, sustainability, and respect for the property’s outstanding natural landscape,” said Leonard Glickman, principal of Rose Equities. The Harrison Planning Board recently voted unanimously to declare its intent to serve as the Lead Agency for the environmental review of the Renaissance Harrison site plan application.
He said the project, if approved, would add to the emerging “live work play” environment of the Teardrop, which is surrounded by I-287, the Hutchinson River Parkway, and I-684.
The owner-builders intend to preserve and renovate a 1905 Normandy-style mansion on the property (commonly known simply as “The Mansion”) that was the former home of architect John Merven Carrere. His firm Carrere and Hastings was one of the nation’s leading Beaux-Arts proponents and its highest-profile project was the New York Public Library in Manhattan. The development is intended to promote walkability and biking, Glickman noted.
The new community will be designed by nationally and locally prominent firms, including Perkins Eastman, Moore Ruble Yudell, Sasaki and Studio Valerius.
Renaissance Harrison, when completed, is expected to generate approximately $30 million in annual tax revenue for the Town of Harrison and the Harrison Central School District.
“Renaissance Harrison makes sense for the Teardrop neighborhood. In 2013, the Town of Harrison adopted an updated Master Plan that envisioned a mix of new uses in the Teardrop, including multi-family residential,” said Glickman.
Glickman said the developers are contract purchasers for the Renaissance Harrison property. While the hotel will be demolished, the plan calls for the retention of the mansion, which will be used for community-oriented events if the plan is approved.
He added that there will be two distinct community gathering places—the Mansion and the Commons—as well as seven to eight acres of minimally disturbed wooded areas for biking and trail walking in the northwest quadrant of the property located south of Wegmans. The property will have a connector road to Wegmans.
When addressing the scope of the project with the total of 760 rental apartment units, Glickman noted, “One has to put that into context,” he told Real Estate In-Depth. “If you look at the Toll Brothers’ site immediately to our north, they have 450 units on seven or eight acres. The Trammel Crow project will also have 450 units. On a per-acre basis, they are somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 (units) while we are down to 27.”
California-based Rose Equities, together with their long-term partner Garden Communities of Short Hills, NJ, have acquired, entitled, and are developing nearly 5,000 units of best-in-class sites in Orange and Los Angeles counties, California. Their joint venture continues on the East Coast with The Residences at Main, a 260-unit luxury apartment home community, currently under construction in the Fairfield County town of Trumbull, Connecticut.
Garden Communities owns and manages more than 50,000 apartments and more than 25 million square feet of retail, office and hotel space. Garden Communities, and its subsidiaries, offer home rentals in Arizona, California, Florida, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.
Garden Communities and Rose Equities stated they expect to own Renaissance Harrison for multiple generations.