Wells Fargo Provides $80M in Financing for 55 Bank St.

John Jordan | August 2015

Work on the next major rental housing project in White Plains has begun.
Work on the next major rental housing project in White Plains has begun.

WHITE PLAINS—LCOR announced on July 28th it had closed on an $80-million construction loan from Wells Fargo for the 55 Bank St. mixed-use development site in White Plains. Company officials say that construction work at the site has already begun.

While no official groundbreaking date has been scheduled for the project located near the White Plains Metro North railroad station at press time, some construction work has already begun on the project. Phase I of the project is expected to be completed in 2017 with work ramping up later this year. The full-build out development cost of the project has been estimated at $250 million.

LCOR plans to develop the land at 55 Bank St. into an impressive mixed-use property in two phases. Phase I will consist of a 16-story, 288-unit leading rental building with 3,000 square-feet of ground floor retail space and 381 underground parking spaces. Phase II will include a 16-story, 273-unit full-service, rental building with 3,350 square-feet of ground floor retail space and the balance of the underground and above grade parking, for a total of 570 parking spaces. Of the 561-units, 20 percent have been designated as workforce housing.

“Located in the center of White Plains, 55 Bank Street provides LCOR with an extraordinary opportunity to redevelop an area that was underutilized but will now provide the city with substantial residential and retail offerings,” said James Driscoll, senior vice president of LCOR. “The site location is ideal for creating a successful transit oriented development that will further advance the Westside of White Plains into an invigorating walkable community.”

In a telephone interview with Real Estate In-Depth, Driscoll said that construction fencing is being installed at the site down the street from the Metro North White Plains railroad station and from the initial 500-unit Bank Street Commons twin-tower project it completed and later sold.

“The existing commuter parking lot should be removed in the next two weeks and the sheeting and shoring and excavation will start shortly thereafter.” Driscoll said. The general contractor on the project is LRC Construction, LLC of White Plains, an affiliate of the Cappelli Organization.

George Palazzo, president of LRC Construction, is the project manager for 55 Bank St. Palazzo was also the project manager for the Bank Street Commons project when he worked for HRH Construction.

He said that the project will have substantial union participation, but there will be some non-union workers on-site. A Project Labor Agreement was not signed with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Westchester & Putnam Counties.

“From the onset we worked closely with the union trades and the non-union trades to make sure that we had the best representation of trade partners on the project,” he said. “As a result of that many of the union trades are part of the project, which is great.”

The first phase will entail a North Tower that will include 288 rental apartments and 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. The South Tower will be built upon the lease-up of the first phase and will include 273 rental apartments and 3,350 square feet of ground floor retail space. A 421-space shared use parking garage will be built below grade, he noted, as part of phase one that should be completed by the spring of 2017. The second phase will also include another 149 parking spaces. The project will feature 80% market rate apartments and 20 percent affordable units. He said that approximately 70% of the units would either be studios or one-bedroom apartments.

He said that since there has not been a major institutionally-sized multifamily project built in White Plains since the Avalon White Plains project in 2009, the believes “there is a lot of pent up demand looking for Class A product that we are going to be providing. We are confident that this is not like some of the other markets nearby, like Stamford, (CT) that can be viewed as an over-supplied market. We believe this is an under-supplied market.”

Driscoll, who leads an LCOR team in development activities for New Jersey, Westchester County and Fairfield, CT, was the keynote speaker at a meeting of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors’ Commercial Investment Division on April 16th at the HGAR offices in White Plains.

Upon completion, 55 Bank St. will feature a mix of luxury studio, one- and two-bedroom apartment homes. Residents will have exclusive access to a host of first-class amenities that will include a sky lounge complete with a clubroom, private dining room and outdoor deck featuring barbeque grills and additional seating. A landscaped area for outdoor recreation will be located on the mezzanine level, along with a swimming pool and fire pit. Additional amenities include a resident’s lounge, cyber café and business center, billiards lounge, children’s playroom and state-of-the-art fitness center.

55 Bank Street will also feature a full-service lobby with concierge service and shared parking garage that extends 200 parking spaces to White Plains commuters. The building is slated for LEED Silver certification.

Both the City of White Plains and the Westchester County IDA took important roles in helping 55 Bank Street to come to fruition. The creation of the Bank Street Redevelopment Area, by the City of White Plains, allowed LCOR to develop the northern portion of the redevelopment area into the adjacent 502-unit Bank Street Commons residential and retail complex in 2004. In 2010, LCOR purchased the former municipal parking lot, now home to 55 Bank Street, from the city with the goal of redeveloping the land into a mixed-use community on the southern portion of the redevelopment area. The Westchester County IDA created numerous incentive programs to allow large TOD projects to be developed in these areas, including a PILOT program, a sales tax exemption, and relief from the mortgage recording tax.

LCOR is a fully integrated real estate company with a mission to create better places to live, learn, work, travel and play.  In 2012 LCOR recapitalized the company with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and the resulting new platform, with a significant asset and capital base, is poised for strategic portfolio growth.  LCOR specializes in core urban development and acquisition / redevelopment opportunities where assets can be repositioned or rehabilitated to add value.  The company is a pioneer and leader in public/private development, including government spaces, aviation facilities and infrastructure. LCOR’s real estate operating and development business manages approximately 8,000 multifamily units, 7.5 million square feet of commercial space and a substantial development pipeline of mixed-use real estate in core markets.  Nationally, LCOR has developed more than 21,000 residential units and 18+ million square feet of commercial space.  LCOR is principally focused in the eastern United States, with offices in New York City and the Washington D.C. and Philadelphia metro areas.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth