LCOR to Break Ground on $250M Project In Downtown White Plains
John Jordan | May 2015
WHITE PLAINS—LCOR Inc., the developer of the proposed mixed-use 55 Bank St. project near the White Plains train station, said recently that the Berwyn, PA-based firm hopes to break ground in May on the $250-million venture.
James Driscoll, senior vice president of LCOR, said that financing was being finalized for the project that will feature 561 rental apartments and 6,350 square feet of retail space. Mr. 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.
Driscoll said that the project will feature two 16-story buildings that will be built in phases. 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. The second phase will also include another 149 parking spaces. The project will feature 80% market rate apartments and 20 % affordable units. He said that approximately 70% of the units would either be studios or one-bedroom apartments.
The current design is much different than its original proposal that called for two 27-story tower buildings that was also to feature a seven-story above ground parking garage. He said the redesign has much less of a visual impact on the surrounding neighborhoods.
LCOR is the original developer and owner of Bank Street Commons (formerly known as 15 Bank St.), a 500-unit rental apartment mixed-use project adjacent to the White Plains Metro North railroad station. LCOR had proposed the twin-tower 55 Bank St. mixed-use project and secured approvals for the venture near the White Plains Metro North railroad station back in 2007. However, the subsequent recession put the project in mothballs until about 2012 when LCOR mulled reviving the development as the multifamily market grew significantly stronger.
The company appeared before the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency on Jan. 15, 2015 seeking amendment changes to its prior approvals, including permission to develop the project in phases. Its application was approved by the IDA. The IDA inducement from 2007 of $3.3 million in sales tax and $3.2 million in mortgage tax exemptions in connection with the project remains in place.
The overall project is expected to create 533 new construction and permanent jobs. Driscoll said that the first building should be delivered in the spring of 2017. The project will be completed in either 2018 or 2019, depending on market demand.
“The reason why we are investing in White Plains… is really the mix of office, retail, restaurant and now really over the past 15 years the inclusion of residential in a significant way in the downtown location,” Driscoll said.
He added that after a residential boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s, there has not been any major residential project built in downtown White Plans.
Driscoll said that the 55 Bank St. development hopes to revive the success of 15 Bank St., City Center, the Ritz Carlton Hotel and Residences and Avalon White Plains projects that were built prior to the recession and successfully leased.
He said that LCOR believes there is significant demand for Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in downtown White Plains. He said that White Plains rental product is a premium to competing downtown Stamford, CT, particularly because of the shorter commuter time to Manhattan, which takes approximately 40 minutes.
“So for us it is about providing our residents with a great product, a great amenity package, but most importantly a great lifestyle, and White Plains does that for us,” Driscoll said.
Some of the planned amenities include a two-story lobby that at full build-out will connect the two towers, a cyber café, a business center, a game room, children’s play room, fitness center, outdoor pool on the mezzanine level terrace with a grass area and a sky lounge on the roof of each tower building with a private dining room, club room, deck, and barbeque dining area.