The Real Deal New York

Westchester & Fairfield Cheat Sheet: Greenwich developer dives into Opportunity Zones, Time Equities pays $14M for Bridgeport building… & more

By Maya Rajamani | March 07, 2019 01:00PM

Clockwise from top left: Greenwich developer launches an Opportunity Zone-focused real estate investment trust (credit: Kenneth C. Zirkel), Westchester County’s second Lowe’s opening in Yorktown Heights (credit: Tony Webster), a software provider moves from Stamford to Fairfield as it looks to expand and Time Equities pays $13.85M for the Bridgeport Trade and Technology Center.

Greenwich developer launches Opportunity Zone REIT
Belpointe Capital is taking advantage of the Trump administration’s new Opportunity Zone program, the Connecticut Post reported. The Greenwich-based real estate development and investment firm announced on March 4 its formation of a new OZ-focused real estate investment trust. Belpointe, whose new REIT leadership team includes former executives from AvalonBay Communities, said in a securities filing that it plans to raise up to $50 million in capital in the short term. The OZ program, shoehorned into the late 2017 federal tax overhaul, has gradually made inroads in the Tri-State region for providing financial incentives to developers investing in designated underdeveloped areas. The Connecticut Post reported that Belpointe’s REIT is currently looking for projects to invest in and “does not plan to restrict its investment to any geography.” Belpointe, founded by attorney and former Powerball winner Brandon Lacoffsaid in a statement that it intends to pursue a $3 billion equity offering for OZs within six-to-eight years. A web portal on Belpointe’s website, which includes a financial breakdown on the potential benefits of working with the firm over a private equity outfit, is also soliciting investors. Securities filings by Belpointe show that it is being advised by the law firm Winston & Strawn. [CTPost]

Time Equities buys Bridgeport’s BTTC building for $13.85M
New York City-based Time Equities has shelled out $13.85 million to acquire the Bridgeport Trade and Technology Center (BTTC), the real estate investor said in a statement. Time Equities “has become an active investor in [Bridgeport], acquiring over 1 million square feet of commercial space, 176 apartments and 8.5 acres of vacant land within a six-month period,” it said. In January, Time Equities snapped up three mixed-use properties in downtown Bridgeport for $21.7 million, only two months after it paid $7.9 million for the 10-building Bridgeport Innovation CenterThe firm’s latest acquisition of the BTTC, a business incubator located at 480 Barnum Avenue, includes a 575,000-square-foot complex and 8.29 acres of land, the Connecticut Post reported. “It’s a very flexible building with great bones and really lends itself to a multitude of uses and can really be an economical choice for business owners,” Time Equities’ director of acquisitions and senior counsel Max Pastor told the outlet. [CTPost]

Westchester County’s second Lowe’s opening in Yorktown Heights
Almost four months after announcing the closure of dozens of stores through the U.S. and Canada, home improvement retailer Lowe’s plans to open a 124,000-square-foot store in Yorktown Heights, according to Breslin Realty Development, which is marketing three other buildings on the site as part of a new shopping center. Breslin Realty, a Garden City-based developer and brokerage, said the opening at 3200 Crompond Road will take place on March 16. Westchester County already has one Lowe’s located at the Ridge Hill Shopping Center in Yonkers. The new locale hosted a hiring event in late February, the Yorktown Daily Voice reported. “It’s required a lot of patience, as do all my projects, but it’s been worth the wait for the residents of the region to have a great home improvement store on the property that has become an eyesore for many years,” Breslin Realty CEO Wilbur Breslin told the outlet. Groundbreaking on the Lowe’s began in late 2017. But the retailer’s long-awaited opening in Yorktown, which some public officials have said could create up to 200 local jobs, has been delayed for several months. [YDV]

Retail landlords regroup amid spate of store closures
Beset by a string of corporate bankruptcies, downsizings and other retail market headwinds, landlords in Westchester and Fairfield counties are looking to revamp traditional “big box” properties by embracing new strategies, as recently noted by The Real Deal in its inaugural Tri-State issue. The search for suburban retail solutions in places like Pelham’s Post Road Plaza in Westchester has led some landlords to consider amending leases and subdividing spaces. The relative affluence of the region surrounding New York City, a high-density area close to key transportation corridors, has also softened the blow from the retail sector’s ongoing struggles. “The end of brick-and-mortar [retail] has been overdone here… it won’t all be online,” Levin Management CEO Matthew Harding told TRD. Harding’s Post Road Plaza, home to a Kmart until it closed more than a decade ago, is now anchored by stores by a 24-Hour Fitness, Dave & Buster’s and Fairway Market. Retail brokerage Katz & Associates is currently marketing a 50,000-square-foot Fairfield retail property at 114 Federal Road in Danbury that used to be a Bob’s Stores until the latter closed its doors two years ago. [TRD]

Once derelict Fairfield building snags software company tenant
Q88, a growing technology and software provider to the maritime industry, has signed a lease for a 7,800-square-foot building in Fairfield, the Connecticut Post reported. The business is moving “to meet [its] future goals of expansion,” a spokesperson told the outlet, without providing specifics about the lease. The building at 1501 Kings Highway East was dilapidated until it was purchased in 2017 by Powerscourt Westover, which announced plans to subsequently renovate the property, the outlet reported at the time. HK Group, a commercial real estate firm based in nearby Westport, represented Powerscourt on the lease. “The building is fully reconstructed with the modern industrial look that many companies — modern and young companies — are looking for,” HK Group executive vice president Franco Fellah said in a statement. Q88 plans to move in at some point this summer. [CTPost]

Developer gets New Rochelle IDA incentives for $91M resi project
A developer that hopes to build a $90.5 million apartment complex in New Rochelle could be getting $14 million in tax relief, the Westchester County Business Journal reported. The New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency has given preliminary approval for Huguenot Partners’ proposed tax break, according to the outlet. Huguenot Partners, a unit of Manhattan-based developer DHA Capital, and co-development partner Corridor Holdings hope to build a pair of 14-story buildings and a 259-space parking garage on New Rochelle parcels located at 327 Huguenot Street, 339 Huguenot Street and 33 Centre Avenue. The two buildings, which will include 13,000 square feet of retail space, will collectively house 285 apartment units aimed at young professionals and college students. Construction is slated to start next year, pending approvals, and the buildings are expected to be occupied by the start of 2022. [WBJ]

Kosher supermarket reopens in Scarsdale after bankruptcy
Seasons, a Flushing-based chain of kosher groceries that filed for Chapter 11 protection in September, has reopened its doors in Scarsdale, the Westchester County Business Journal reported. Seasons emerged from bankruptcy proceedings last month when it was purchased for an undisclosed sum by the family of Joseph Bistritzky, CEO of Brooklyn-based food service firm Maramont Corporation. In Scarsdale, LoHud reported that Seasons held a soft opening on Feb. 12 for its approximately 12,000-square-foot store at the Golden Horseshoe Shopping Center at 1088 Wilmot Road with plans for a grand reopening on March 3. The outlet noted that the new Seasons is located just a few doors down from its previous corner location at the complex in space vacated a few years ago by Gristedes. [WBJ]