Ivy Realty Acquires White Plains Plaza Office Towers

John Jordan | June 25, 2015

The twin-tower White Plains Plaza office complex has a new owner.

WHITE PLAINS—After failing to secure the office tower properties more than a decade ago, Ivy Realty of Greenwich, CT has recently acquired the 725,000-square-foot White Plains Plaza office complex here in a distressed sale.

White Plains Plaza consists of two 15-story office buildings at One North Broadway and 445 Hamilton Ave. that adjoin Ivy’s 275 Main St. property that features Walmart and Burlington Coat Factory stores totaling 209,000 square feet and a 1,000 car six-story parking garage.

Anthony P. DiTomasso, Jr., co-CEO and co-founder of Ivy Realty, refused to divulge the purchase price but said that the property changed hands a few weeks ago at a “fair price.” Ivy Realty had sought to acquire White Plains Plaza more than a decade ago, DiTomasso noted. In December 2004 MetLife sold the complex to Heyman Properties of Westport, CT for approximately $60 million. Ivy had bid on the complex, but lost out to the Heyman firm. White Plains Plaza first opened in around 1970. MetLife acquired the complex in 1989 for what sources at the time reported at approximately $120 million. The building at one time served as the headquarters for Prodigy Inc.

DiTomasso said the purchase signals the company’s re-entrance back into the Westchester County commercial office market. “We had a very large presence in the Westchester marketplace in the late 1990s and early 2000s. We exited most of those assets,” he said, with the exception of the 275 Main St. property.

The company in the early 2000s sold most of its Westchester County office portfolio, including several buildings along the I-287 corridor. Among its past office holdings that were sold more than 10 years ago included: 33 West Main St., Elmsford (64,000 square feet); 2975 Westchester Ave., Purchase (117,697 square feet); 411 Theodore Fremd Ave., Rye (110,000 square feet); 244 Westchester Ave., White Plains (85,000 square feet); and 399 Knollwood Road, White Plains (143,815 square feet).

DiTomasso said that the firm was impressed with the transformation of Downtown White Plains in the past decade into a more walkable city with new restaurants, hotels and apartment buildings that have thrived despite the recession.

“It’s come a long way in 10 or 11 years,” he said. With the purchase, Ivy Realty is now planning a multi-million capital improvement program at White Plains Plaza.

“We have great plans for making sense of what is almost an entire city block and how connectivity of the parking garage and the office buildings work together,” DiTomasso said. “We have capital to continue to make improvements to the plaza area, the public areas, the landings, the mechanical systems and to reinvest in the asset to make it a better experience for the tenants.”

David Archibald, chief investment officer for Ivy Realty, added that improvements to the adjoining parking garage’s lighting, signage and connectivity with White Plains Plaza will also be undertaken in the near future. Archibald said that Ivy will likely look to seek incentives from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency in connection with the planned improvements. The capital improvement program should be completed in the next year.

“Candidly we have been tracking this asset for almost a dozen years. We lost out on the bidding on this 10 or 11 years ago,” DiTomasso said, noting that once it became available again, the company was very interested in adding it to its portfolio, particularly due to its ownership of the adjoining property.

“This is a great opportunity for us to get back into Westchester in a much bigger way,” he said.

The building is currently 70% leased and its major tenants are law firms Greenberg Traurig LLP, which leases approximately 50,000 square feet and Cuddy & Feder, which leases approximately 26,000 square feet. Other tenants include Crush Fitness and Webster Bank. The firm has retained Newmark Grubb Knight Frank as the leasing agent for the property.

Ivy Realty, which also has offices in Montvale, NJ and Fort Lauderdale, FL, owns office buildings in Queens and in Hicksville, NY and has extensive holdings in New Jersey, including properties in Princeton, Paterson, Morristown, Mahwah, Hoboken, South Brunswick and Parsippany. Also part of Ivy’s portfolio is 41 West Putnam Ave. in Greenwich, CT., 711 Atlantic Ave. in Boston and the Brigham Business Park in Marlborough, MA, as well as office properties in Rockville, MD, Philadelphia, PA and a number in Southeast Florida, including holdings in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Coral Springs and Deerfield Beach.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth