Westchester & Fairfield Cheat Sheet: WWE body slams former Stamford HQ, Port Chester developer pleads guilty to tax charges… & more

By Maya Rajamani | March 21, 2019 04:06PM

Clockwise from top left: Washington Trust provided $17.4M in financing for island office building buy, Rye-based home builder snapping up historic farmhouse in Scarsdale, Westchester County investor buys mixed-use Tuckahoe property for $2.2M and Avison Young closes two new leasing transactions at Norwalk office building.

WWE ditches ‘Titan Towers’ for new Stamford HQ
Vince McMahon’s World Wresting Entertainment has signed a lease for 415,000 square feet of space in Stamford, The Real Deal reported Thursday. The massive lease signing at 677 Washington Boulevard will see the WWE say goodbye in early 2021 its current home at 1241 East Main Street, a building known as the “Titan Towers,” which it now plans to sell. The three-building complex that will house the WWE’s operations beginning that year is owned by George Comfort & Sons, which purchased the property that once served as the North American headquarters of Swiss financial services giant UBS a little more than a year ago. Last year the building added global accounting giant KPMG as a tenant. JLL took the lead on the lease for WWE, which as part of the deal will also leave space it leases at 1266 East Main Street in Stamford. WWE said that it will “evaluate options” for the production studios it has at 88 and 120 Hamilton Avenue in Stamford. The company bought 88 Hamilton Avenue for $26.9 million in 2016. [TRD]

Westport island office building buy snags $17.4M in financing
An affiliate of Maplewood Healthcare shelled out $22 million for an island office building in Westport last year — and $17.4 million in financing came from the Washington Trust’s commercial real estate group, the bank said in a press release. The 40,897-square-foot building at 1 Gorham Island Road houses tenants such as Maplewood Senior Living and PetVet Care Centers, according to the Norwalk Hour. The island itself offers “panoramic views” of the Saugatuck River and is close to downtown Westport, Washington Trust said. “Washington Trust is excited to be involved with such a premier property in Westport,” said a statement from Julia Anne Slom, senior vice president and leader of the bank’s commercial real estate group. The Westerly, Rhode Island-based Washington Trust also recently provided $6.3 million in financing to Rye Brook-based WHM Realty for its acquisition of a 12,900-square-foot CVS Pharmacy in Farmington. [The Hour]

Ex-Greenwich broker, Port Chester developer pleads guilty in tax case
Richard Josephberg, a former financial broker in Greenwich who also developed commercial and residential properties through his Port Chester-based Almorli Advisors, pleaded guilty this week to tax evasion and failure to file tax returns, the Westchester County Business Journal reported. Josephberg, 72, entered his guilty pleas in a federal court in downtown Manhattan, where he was indicted last September as part of an IRS investigation. Josephberg, represented by White Plains-based solo practitioner Jared Scharf, admitted to avoiding tax payments on a $1.57 million commission he received in 2011 while working at an investment firm in Manhattan. He did so by depositing $1.53 million in commission payments into accounts for Almorli Advisors, according to federal prosecutors. As part of his guilty plea, Josephberg also agreed to pay nearly $1.3 million in restitution to the IRS and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Josephberg, who has written about real estate investment strategy, previously ran into legal problems in 2007 when he was convicted on tax and health care fraud charges. [WBJ]

Plans pitched for 9-story, mixed-use building in Port Chester
A group of developers hope to build a new mixed-use building near the Metro-North train station in downtown Port Chester, the Westchester County Business Journal reported. The nine-story building would have 115 apartment units, second-floor office space, ground-floor retail space and 104 parking spots on land at 108 South Main Street, according to the outlet. White Plains-based developer Edmond DeLaurentis Jr., one of the members of the limited liability company that has proposed the project, told the outlet the building would “complement” the LLC’s nearby One Gateway Plaza building, which DeLaurentis now owns. “There will be a whole new level of vitality brought to the gateway,” DeLaurentis said. The Port Chester Planning Commission is expected to review the application for the building at the end of the month. In January, another developer sought rezoning and incentives for a condo project in Port Chester. [WBJ]

Historic Scarsdale farmhouse sold after guilty plea
Rye-based Nantucket Home Builders plans to purchase a historic farmhouse in Scarsdale, LoHud reported. The Scarsdale Historical Society put the 0.7-acre lot at 937 Post Road, which is home to the Cudner-Hyatt House Museum, on the market after a previous sale fell through when one of the principal investors, developer Michael D’Alessio, pleaded guilty to fraud charges in November. The price tag wasn’t immediately disclosed, but the historical society was asking for $975,000. Lynne Clark of Houlihan Lawrence had the listing for the five-bedroom farmhouse. Nantucket Home Builders president George Braverman told the outlet the company plans to “basically restore the entire house itself,” adding that they “don’t want to change the integrity.” The home builder plans to develop the rest of the property and is seeking to subdivide it into three lots. The sale of the pre-Revolutionary War farmhouse, which returned to the market in January, will only go through if the village approves the subdivision plan. As for D’Alessio, who was behind a limited liability company that had pledged to pay for the property with $1.06 million in cash in April 2017, he has recently sold off several properties of his own via bankruptcy auctions. [LoHud]

Avison Young inks 2 leases at Norwalk office building
Two new leasing transactions have closed at a 170,000-square-foot office building in Norwalk, the Fairfield County Business Journal reported. Pet care services company Best Friends Pet Care inked a 2,368-square-foot lease at 535 Connecticut Avenue, said a statement from Sean Cahill, principal and managing director of Avison Young’s Fairfield/Westchester office. Content delivery service KenCast also extended its 5,486-square-foot lease in the building. Hanover Norwalk Investors bought the property for an undisclosed sum late last year and Avison Young, a Toronto-based brokerage giant, became its exclusive leasing agent in December. The building “attracts and retains tenants who require rapid access to Interstate 95, as well as the SoNo and Darien train stations via the building’s private shuttle service,” said a statement from Avison Young senior associate Christopher Grundy. [FBJ]

Redfin report sees step drop in Bridgeport home sales
Home prices in the U.S. had their slowest annual growth in seven years last month — and Bridgeport was one of 10 metropolitan areas that actually saw a decline in average sales price, Mansion Global reported, citing a recent Redfin report. The seaport city “saw the worst decline, with prices falling 15.2 percent,” to $335,000, according to the outlet. Average home sale prices also fell 0.8 percent in Hartford, to $195,500, but rose 7.6 percent in nearby New Haven, to $199,000. In New York City, meanwhile, the average home sales price slipped 1.3 percent, to $380,o000, while Newark saw the greatest home value appreciation, to $330,000, a 12.2 percent spike in year-over-year growth. The news is good for buyers, who now have “some breathing room,” according to Mansion Global. “When home prices are going up quickly, buyers feel like they are forced to move fast and purchase a home before prices rise even more,” said a statement from Redfin’s chief economist Daryl Fairweather. [Mansion Global]

Investor buys mixed-use Tuckahoe property for $2.2M
An unidentified Westchester County investor shelled out $2.2 million for a mixed-use property near the Crestwood Metro-North station in Tuckahoe, said Redwood Realty Advisors director Michael Scrima, who represented both the buyer and the seller in the transaction. The New Rochelle-based Grasso family owned the building at 305 Columbus Avenue, which houses eight one-bedroom apartments and two ground-floor retail spaces, for more than three decades, said the Elmsford-based Scrima, noting that tenants in the building have generally been young professionals. “The property is already in very good condition and the plan is to keep it for the foreseeable future,” he added. “Properties like this in premier areas like Tuckahoe, Eastchester, Bronxville [and] Scarsdale rarely trade hands.” [Redwood Realty]