Town of Harrison, NY Votes to Allow Multi-Family Housing on Platinum Mile
Two 1970s Office Buildings owned by Normandy Real Estate Partners to Make Way for
421 Unit Rental Apartment Housing Development
Harrison, NY – September 1, 2016 – Normandy Real Estate Partners, a leading real estate operator and fund manager, today announced that the Town of Harrison Town Board has approved an important “first” for the Platinum Mile of the Interstate 287 (Cross Westchester Expressway) corridor by voting to approve a Special Exception Use Permit that will allow creation of 421 rental apartments, including 42 affordable units, on a site that for nearly 50 years has been occupied by two corporate office buildings. This will be the first multi-family housing in the so-called “teardrop” area of the I-287 corridor (between I-287, I-684, the connector road from I-287 to I-684, and the Hutchinson River Parkway), what has long been known as an epicenter of corporate offices.
The vote at a Thursday night Town Board meeting follows two years of review by the Town that included a full review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) by the Planning Board, and multiple public meetings and hearings. The 10.35-acre site owned by Normandy is currently occupied by 103 and 105 Corporate Park Drive, two 87,700-square-foot, three-story, multi-tenant, 1970-era office buildings that are essentially vacant, with 103 having been unoccupied for 14 years and 105 less than half occupied for much of that time. The new use is consistent with the Town’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan, and a zoning amendment approved by the Town Board in April, 2016.
The office buildings will be demolished to make way for a five-story, multi-family rental apartment building featuring studio, one- and two-bedroom units and 752 indoor and outdoor parking spaces. The new building will closely match the footprint of the existing buildings and the existing green buffers will be essentially maintained.
The property is owned by Normandy Real Estate Partners, a major commercial property owner whose portfolio includes nearly 1.6 million square feet of office space in 15 buildings along I-287 in both Harrison and the City of White Plains. The housing will be built by Toll Brothers, a prominent national residential builder that is active in Westchester County and the Hudson Valley Region. Construction is expected to begin in early 2017.
The decision to allow residential housing to replace chronically underutilized office space marks a major step forward in the repurposing and repositioning of the so-called Platinum Mile that parallels I-287 from White Plains and Harrison east to Port Chester and Rye. In recent years the Town of Harrison has demonstrated both vision and agility in allowing no longer viable commercial and office uses in its portion of the corridor to be rezoned and adapted to a variety of new uses.
Mayor Ron Belmont said the Town had taken a methodical approach to the inclusion of residential housing. “This is a significant change and we did not take it lightly,” he said. “We conducted a thorough review, drew on the expertise of our Planning Board and our professional staff and consultants and we listened carefully to the residents of our community. In the end, we concluded that this is a viable use for an already developed location that clearly has been underperforming for a long time. The site has excellent access and infrastructure and does not impact existing residential neighborhoods. All the ingredients are there and it gives us the opportunity to offer new housing choices to our residents and employers. We’re looking forward to seeing a top quality finished product.”
Giorgios L. Vlamis, a partner in Normandy Real Estate Partners, said “Normandy is thrilled to be a part of the repurposing of the I-287 corridor in Harrison. We applaud the vision and foresight of the Town of Harrison in permitting the multi-family residential use of the 103-105 property, which will provide a new high-quality housing option for young professionals and empty nesters in close proximity to transportation, offices, and amenities.”
Alexander Roberts, head of the Westchester Workforce Housing Coalition, an organization that encourages and supports the construction of affordable housing in Westchester, said the following about the decision to approve the residential plan: “On behalf of the Westchester Workforce Housing Coalition, we applaud the decision by the Town of Harrison to approve 421 new apartments that will include 42 units of affordable housing (21 units for households earning up to 60% of the Area Median Income–or about $52,000 for a family of two– and 21 units for a two-family household earning up to 80% of Area Median Income, or about $69,000). We are pleased to have a played a role in obtaining the inclusion of the affordable units in the project, which will enhance the County’s effort to attract a young professional workforce, as well as businesses who depend on their labor. ”
Frank S. McCullough Jr., a partner in the McCullough, Goldberger & Staudt, LLP law firm based in White Plains, has represented the property owners in accomplishing many of the changes along the corridor, including the replacement of 101 Corporate Park Drive with a hotel, the replacement of the Gannett/Journal News office and printing plant with Life Time Fitness, and Fordham University’s conversion of the former NYNEX building into its Westchester campus.
“Harrison has recognized the realities of the changing market needs and demands and has carefully, but steadily made the adjustments to assure that compatible and viable new uses can be established and that its tax base is preserved,” he said. “The decision to allow a residential component is the next step in the process and the town’s leaders deserve a great deal of credit for their willingness to think outside the box.”
About Normandy Real Estate Partners
Normandy Real Estate Partners is a leading real estate operator and investment manager headquartered in Morristown, NJ with offices in Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C. Normandy currently manages a series of discretionary real estate funds totaling approximately $1.5 billion of equity commitments. Normandy’s existing portfolio includes 13.2 million square feet of commercial assets, four hotels and numerous land development sites. Normandy targets value added real estate investments in the gateway markets of Boston, Metro New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. where opportunities exist to enhance value through creative repositioning, financial restructuring, intensive management, and capital improvements. For more information visit www.normandyrealty.com.
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