Developer looks to rent Riverdale houses

July 14, 2010 11:30AM

Villanova Heights, a community built in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, has no buyers for any of its 15 houses, after two years on the market and price reductions, the Wall Street Journal reported. But to John Fitzgerald, developer of Villanova Heights, the dearth of buyers is just another temporary setback for a project that has slowly progressed in fits and starts for 20 years. Without the prospect of immediate sales, Fitzgerald has decided to try leasing the homes until the market improves. So far, two have been leased, one at $13,000 a month and the other at $16,000 a month. The homes, designed by Yale School of Architecture Dean Robert Stern, were built on spec. They occupy 11,000 square feet of space, and have libraries, swimming pools and elevators. Even price reductions from $12 million to $7 million for some homes did not attract buyers, possibly because the Villanova homes are the most expensive in Riverdale, local brokers said. “Had they put the homes on one to four acres, then they could ask for the $7 or $8 million,” said Kevin Parker, a sales agent with Halstead Property. In the current market, spec homes work best when they are the least expensive properties, said Bernard Markstein, senior economist for the National Association of Home Builders. [WSJ]