Building for commuters
By Howard Greenberg, President of Howard Properties, Ltd.
Buildings on the Platinum Mile that provide private shuttles from the White Plains Metro-North Station are being forced to increase the capacity of those shuttles to serve the increased number of workers commuting by train. Glenn Walsh feels we need a new gateway to the county at the White Plains Metro-North Station.
Developer Louis Cappelli had a proposal years ago to redevelop the entire area, but it got shelved during the recession. Imagine the boon to our market if the White Plains Metro-North Station had a Grand-Central Station-like retail and restaurant component connected to it! That would provide a great new gateway to the city, as well as much-needed dining options for the office buildings that are near the station. Plans are in the study stage now.
TOD, transit oriented development, is hot. New Rochelle just announced it will hire a partnership including Renaissance Downtowns and RXR Realty to plan for the redevelopment of the area around its train station.
Harrison has recently approved Avalon Bay to construct new multi-family housing and parking structures around its train station. LCOR is finalizing approvals for its new buildings 2 blocks from the White Plains Metro-North station. The attractions of these projects are: walkable communities with services, restaurants, nightlife with direct access to the train for commutation and trips to NYC. The developers believe these buildings will attract empty nesters, as well as young professionals.
There are also new luxury multi-family projects in late stages of construction in White Plains off Maple Ave. that are being constructed in the new modular method, where fully finished units (with walls, kitchens, bathrooms in place) are literally stacked on top of one another. The Cambria Suites Hotel is now open and operating in the White Plains CBD (also a modular construction) and has capped off the redevelopment of the entire block of Main St. between City Center and North Broadway.
Retail is also pretty vibrant. Two examples are the 20,000 SF store on Rt. 119 in White Plains that was vacated by Staples and immediately reconstructed for a CVS. Across the street, the retail space formerly occupied by the bankrupt Loehmann’s chain was quickly leased by Saks Off 5th.
There are a lot of good things happening in our market. Biotech companies, along with new medical offices, cancer treatment centers and urgent care centers are occupying laboratory, office and retail spaces. Older office building inventory continues to be repurposed. New multi-family development, both suburban and transit oriented, should attract and retain young professionals, as well as provide product for empty nesters who want to stay here. The Westchester County real estate market has significant development activity in many different product types, and that is a healthy sign for the future.
Howard Properties, Ltd., which is headquartered in White Plains, NY, specializes in tenant representation and real estate consulting. Founded by veteran commercial broker Howard Greenberg in 1998, Howard Properties has completed space acquisitions, dispositions, lease renegotiations and consulting assignments in 20 states.