Editor's note: Reimagining the suburbs

Jan.January 01, 2017 10:00 AM

Stuart Elliott

In a new world order where up is down, left is right, and a billionaire real estate developer and reality TV star is about to be president, it barely warrants a raised eyebrow that suburbia is an increasingly trendy place to live. But the steady appetite hip ex-Brooklynites seem to have for “hipsturbia,” the name the New York Times bestowed upon the formerly sleepy suburban Westchester towns along the Metro-North Hudson line, has surprised (and delighted) those in the real estate industry.

Westchester is no longer a land of just white picket fences and single-family homes. Along with yoga studios and gluten-free bakeries, rental towers are popping up in more dense areas of the county, targeting millennials. By the end of the third quarter of 2016, developers had obtained nearly double the number of multifamily building permits as in each of the previous four years. See our story on the rental boom on page 24.

Many attribute the beginnings of the urbanization of Westchester — for better or worse, depending upon whom you talk to — to prolific developer Louis Cappelli, who has seen both significant successes and failures over his decades-long career in the county. We take a look at his many projects and his relationship with President-elect Donald Trump on page 34. For more on Trump’s dealings in the county, see page 16.

With the increased density driven by developers like Cappelli comes more commercial development. On page 50 we look at the proliferation of hotels in the southern part of Westchester, and on pages 18 and 48, respectively, we examine how the changing population is driving a newfound focus on dining, as well as innovations in retail. The talented workforce the county now draws is also a boon for the office market, as evidenced in a biotech boom hitting parts of Westchester — see page 20. Chinese investment in the area is also making waves — see page 12.

But the more things change…the more bids are put in for each Westchester home that hits the market. Read about the increasingly heated bidding wars in the River towns on page 32, and the fight for market share between “upstart” residential brokerages and their stalwart brethren on page 38.

We also looked at the market in neighboring Fairfield County, where price cuts at the top of the market are the name of the game amid a lagging luxury sector— see our story and ranking of Greenwich’s steepest listings chops on page 10. The pain isn’t only for the “little people,” though — see page 54 for the boldface business tycoons who have had to reduce sale prices to move their mansions.

Enjoy the issue!


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