UPDATE: Hospital for Special Surgery to Establish Outpatient Center at Former IBM Building

John Jordan | January 19, 2016

New Hospital for Special Surgery outpatient center at 1133 Westchester Ave. in White Plains.

WHITE PLAINS—The Hospital for Special Surgery will establish the largest outpatient center in its system here at 1133 Westchester Ave. at the end of 2017. In addition, Real Estate In-Depth has learned that property owner RPW Group is close to resurrecting a plan to build a hotel nearby.

The Hospital for Special Surgery’s outpatient center will be housed in the center building at the former IBM building complex owned by the RPW Group of Rye Brook. The New York City-based orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation provider has signed a 50,000-square-foot lease at the 625,000-square-foot office building located adjacent to the Cross Westchester Expressway (I-287). Construction on the center is scheduled to begin in September 2016 with an anticipated opening sometime in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Monique Irons, a spokesperson for the Hospital for Special Surgery, said that the initial 60% of the build-out of the space will cost $21 million. “The remaining space will be developed in due course for clinical or administrative use,” she said. The number of employees that will be working at the new outpatient center has yet to be determined.

New York City-based Hospital for Special Surgery also operates out patient facilities in Fresh Meadows, NY; Uniondale, NY; Paramus, NJ; Stamford, CT, as well as several sites in Manhattan. It also operates the HSS Spine and Sport facility in Jupiter, FL.

“HSS is dedicated to providing access to high quality specialty care and our increased presence in regional communities is evident,” stated Louis A. Shapiro, president and CEO of HSS. “This new location gives us a unique opportunity to create a facility ideal for Westchester County residents who want the unmatched excellence of HSS closer to home.”

Robert Weisz, CEO RPW Group
Robert Weisz, CEO RPW Group

Robert Weisz, principal of RPW Group, said that the lease deal was the subject of several months of negotiations. He said the Hospital for Special Surgery was attracted to the property’s location that gives it easy access to I-287 and the Hutchinson River Parkway. The lease deal brings the more than 600,000-square-foot office building to more than 90% leased.

“Westchester could not be more pleased to welcome Hospital for Special Surgery to the county,” says Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino. “Our team worked hard to make this a reality. HSS and the county are leaders when it comes to providing for quality of life. The new outpatient center is another step forward.”

Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s Glenn Walsh, executive managing director and Lawrence Ruggieri, senior managing director, represented RPW Group, while NGKF’s executive managing director Gregory Frisoli represented the Hospital for Special Surgery in the transaction. Walsh said that the Hospital for Special Surgery’s facilities will encompass about two-and-a-half floors at the building. He said the outpatient center will involve a significant amount of construction.

He added that the Hospital for Special Surgery began its search for space in about the spring of last year and focused on properties in the eastern section of Westchester County. Once it identified the 1133 Westchester Ave. office building as its preferred choice, Walsh said negotiations proceeded rather quickly, culminating in the long-term lease transaction.

Hospital for Special Surgery’s Irons noted that the hospital is in the early stages of detailing space utilization and allocation, but many HSS Centers of Excellence will be represented at the new outpatient center, including Radiology and Imaging, Joint Replacement, Foot and Ankle, Hand and Upper Extremity, Pediatrics, Physiatry, Rheumatology, Spine, and Sports Medicine.

When asked the reasons behind its expansion into Westchester, Irons said, “HSS is expanding in this and many other ways to make world class musculoskeletal care more accessible to consumers who prioritize quality. Patients travel to HSS from all 50 states and more than 100 countries; this newest Outpatient Center will serve the many who live in Westchester County and neighboring communities.”

Weisz Mulls Hotel Plan

RPW Group’s Weisz told Real Estate In-Depth that he is studying the possibility of building a hotel on land adjacent to the 1133 Westchester Ave. complex.

Weisz noted that in the past his firm had proposed building an office building and a hotel at the property and had received approvals from the City of White Plains for those respective projects, but the approvals on both of those plans have since lapsed. The firm had also considered possible residential development at the site.

He told the newspaper that his firm has just begun the study of the feasibility of a possible 150-room hotel at the property that will now house an outpatient center for the Hospital for Special Surgery. A decision on the hotel plan will probably be made sometime later this year, he added. However, based on improving national and local economic conditions, Weisz is leaning towards moving forward with the hotel plan on a portion of the 80-acre site.

One of the issues to be studied will be what type of hotel would be most feasible at the site— a short-term or extended stay hotel, for example. When asked how he was leaning, Weisz said that he was about 90% certain he would move forward with the new hotel plan.

RPW Group Inc. went before the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency on Sept. 4, 2008 seeking nearly $3.8 million in sales and mortgage tax exemptions in connection with the firm’s plan to build a new commercial office building at 1135 Westchester Ave. and an adjacent hotel.

The plan called for the construction of a $75-million 280,000-square-foot office building at the property. RPW Group at the time had only to secure building permits to begin construction on a 160-room hotel at 1131 Westchester Ave. That project was estimated at between $30-million to $40 million. However, the recession that began in 2008 caused the firm to shelve plans for both projects.

Photo Caption: A significant amount of construction will be required prior to the opening of the new Hospital for Special Surgery outpatient center at 1133 Westchester Ave. in White Plains in late 2017.





John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth