HGAR to Move Headquarters to The Source at White Plains

John Jordan | August 2015

The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors could be taking occupancy of its new headquarters in either late 2015 or early 2016 at The Source at White Plains.
The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors could be taking occupancy  of its new headquarters in either late 2015 or early 2016 at The Source  at White Plains.
The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors could be taking occupancy of its new headquarters in either late 2015 or early 2016 at The Source at White Plains.

WHITE PLAINS—The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. will be relocating its headquarters offices from The Westchester Pavilion mall at 60 South Broadway to offices on the top floor of The Source at White Plains at the corner of Bloomingdale Road and Maple Avenue in White Plains, Real Estate In-Depth has learned.

The Source at White Plains owner Bloomingdale Road Investors LLC, an affiliate of UBS, filed an application for a site plan amendment to permit office use on the fourth floor of the 250,000-square-foot building. The application, on behalf of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, specifically sought approval from the City of White Plains for the installation of windows, exit doors and skylights in what will be a 15,614-square-foot office for the Realtor association. The July 24th application submitted by William Null, an attorney with Cuddy & Feder, was discussed at the Aug. 3 meeting of the White Plain Common Council.  HGAR had previously stated that it was looking to relocate operations from the troubled Westchester Pavilion property. The city earlier this month approved the sight plan amendment.

HGAR CEO Richard Haggerty said that the association will initially sublease the space at The Source at White Plains from Westchester Pavilion owner Urstadt Biddle Properties, Inc. of Greenwich, CT as part of the REIT’s plan to sell the mostly vacant Westchester Pavilion to Maple and Broadway LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lennar Corporation through its Lennar Multi-Family Communities, LLC subsidiary.

Urstadt Biddle President and CEO Willing L. Biddle confirmed that the lease deal for HGAR at The Source of White Plains had been signed. “We have signed a lease with the owners of 1 Maple Ave. to permit us to build a space suitable for HGAR to relocate its premises to on a permanent basis,” Biddle said in a prepared statement. “In order to make the space suitable for office use we will need to add a number of windows to permit natural light into the space. We have submitted renderings and requested approval to install these windows from the City of White Plains and hope to receive approval by September.”

Lennar, which is under contract to acquire the Westchester Pavilion property from Urstadt Biddle, was before the Common Council on Aug. 3 as part of its application with the city for site plan and special permit approval for its planned $277-million mixed-use redevelopment of the property (see story on page 1 in this edition of Real Estate In-Depth).

“We have been working on this project for quite some time,” HGAR CEO Haggerty told Real Estate In-Depth. “We had initially viewed (other) properties in Downtown White Plains, but we determined that the 1 Maple Ave. location met the needs of the organization more so than any of the other properties. It is ideally located right off of I-287 and also has adequate parking to meet our needs.”

He added, “The condition of the building is superior to many of the other commercial complexes in the White Plains area.” While the size of the new office is the same as its current offices at the Pavilion, the offices at The Source will have more usable square footage since it will not feature the long hallways and common area space that the Pavilion space currently features.

While the transaction is a sublease and the direct lease transaction is between Urstadt Biddle and Bloomingdale Road Investors (UBS), Haggerty said that the cost of the lease is “a wash” between what the association is now paying for the Pavilion space. The remaining term on the lease that will now apply to the space at The Source is 23 years with one additional five-year renewal option. HGAR also has an option to terminate the master lease at The Source at the 15th anniversary date of occupancy.

HGAR signed the lease at the Westchester Pavilion in 2007, but did not take occupancy of the penthouse space that was built-out on the roof of the shopping center until Aug. 1, 2008. The former Westchester County Board of Realtors had maintained its headquarters across the street at 59 South Broadway for 26 years. HGAR is one of the last remaining tenants at the Westchester Pavilion. The other tenants, who lease considerably smaller spaces, are McDonald’s and a Japanese sushi restaurant. HGAR negotiated an ultimate lease assignment to be made when the work at the Source at White Plains site has been fully completed.

Haggerty said that the condition of the Westchester Pavilion property had deteriorated over time as it struggled mightily to compete with other major retail outlets in White Plains such as the Galleria and the nearby The Westchester shopping mall. Over the years, major tenants such as Border’s Books, Toys ‘R’ Us, Daffy’s, Education Warehouse, Sports Authority and Outback Steakhouse either closed their doors or relocated to other retail properties in the White Plains area. He added that HGAR agreed with Urstadt Biddle that it would have required a significant amount of capital to resurrect the slumping retail property.

“When you looked at the best possible use of the space, we also agreed that a significant residential component made sense,” he said. “I think one of the reasons why the City of White Plains has been so open to the redevelopment of 60 South Broadway (the Westchester Pavilion) is they are looking to really try to revitalize the whole East Post Road corridor.”

Haggerty said the new offices would have two large classrooms that could be converted into one large classroom if necessary and will also have about double the conference room space as compared to its current space configuration at the Westchester Pavilion.  HGAR’s offices will take up about one-third of the available space on the fourth floor of 1 Maple Ave.

HGAR hopes to move in early 2016. The association has hired MKDA Architects of Stamford, CT to design its new space at The Source at White Plains.

Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s Glenn Walsh, executive managing director and Lawrence Ruggieri, senior managing director, represented UBS in the transaction. CBRE Executive Vice President William Cuddy represented Urstadt Biddle Properties in the deal.

“It took a creative client like HGAR to envision how to make the space work so incredibly well for their specific needs,” CBRE’s Cuddy said. “It is truly a creative out of the box real estate solution.”

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth