Westchester & Fairfield Cheat Sheet: A rich county gets a ratings downgrade, ‘City Square’ plans revealed … & more

<em>Clockwise from top left: Historic New Rochelle home with waterfront views sells for $16M, a developer presents plans for ‘City Square’ mixed-use project in White Plains, a 10-building ‘Innovation Center’ campus in Bridgeport sells for $7.9M and a Darien mansion once owned by soap magnates heads to auction.</em>
Clockwise from top left: Historic New Rochelle home with waterfront views sells for $16M, a developer presents plans for ‘City Square’ mixed-use project in White Plains, a 10-building ‘Innovation Center’ campus in Bridgeport sells for $7.9M and a Darien mansion once owned by soap magnates heads to auction.

Westchester County loses top AAA rating after downgrade
Despite its array of mansions and other areas of affluence, Westchester County, one of the richest suburbs in the country, saw its elite credit rating get cut by a pair of prominent ratings agencies, according to Bloomberg. Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings both made the move after the county drew down on its cash reserves to cover raises retroactively given to government employees, the outlet reported. Westchester County saw both S&P and Fitch slash its AAA rating — the highest available — to AA+, while ratings industry rival Moody’s assigned a roughly equivalent Aa1 rating to the municipality. Westchester County Chief Executive George Latimer publicly acknowledged the “serious financial stress” facing the suburb, but said that hard decisions had to be made in order for the county to make its budget. Latimer vowed to get Westchester County back to AAA. [Bloomberg]

Historic New Rochelle estate with waterfront views sells for $16M
An unidentified buyer shelled out $16 million for a historic home once owned by a United Nations ambassador — the highest price a property has ever gone for in the Mamaroneck School District, according to Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International. The 23,000-square-foot estate at 116 Premium Point in New Rochelle was built for banker Charles Oliver Iselin in 1890 and designed by Stanford White of prominent architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, according to the brokerage. In the 1980s, late Nigerian businessman and former diplomat Antonio Deinde Fernandez bought and expanded the property, known as “All View” for its views of Long Island Sound. The most recent owners of the estate, which now has 13 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms, purchased it in 2012 and renovated the home, “honoring its Beaux Arts heritage while bringing it up to date for the modern era,” said Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International. Mimi Magarelli, a broker who works in the latter’s Larchmont brokerage, represented the buyer. The listing broker was Louise Phillips Forbes from Halstead Real Estate. [JBF]

Plans unveiled for ‘City Square’ mixed-use project in White Plains
A developer hopes to construct a mixed-use project at the former site of the Westchester Financial Center. Ginsburg Development Companies, which acquired the two-building, 571,000-square-foot property earlier this year for $83 millionpresented plans on Nov. 26 for a development known as “City Square” to White Plains’ Common Council, LoHud reported. The project would include luxury rentals, restaurants, retail space, offices and a rooftop park, according to the outlet. “City Square will become a real mixed-use location in Westchester County for people to live, work, play and dine…,” Ginsburg Development founder and principal Martin Ginsburg told the council. LoHud noted that the developer snapped up a 124-unit apartment building near the site last year for $35 million. Council members have voiced support for the project, saying it would bring much-needed retail and office space to downtown White Plains, as well as foot traffic. [LoHud]

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Home owned by ‘Flying Debutante’ aviator hits the market
A six-bedroom house once home to the late Ruth Rowland Nichols, a female aviator known as the “Flying Debutante,” is on the market for $4.825 million, LoHud reported. While Nichols may not be as well known as fellow aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, the former pilot was “the first woman to land in all 48 contiguous states” and “became the first licensed woman seaplane pilot in the U.S. in 1924,” according to LoHud. The house at 289 Grace Church Street in Rye, where Nichols lived with her mother, sits on more than three acres and includes a carriage house, a mudroom and several terraces, the outlet reported. It is listed with William Pitt Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty. [LoHud]

10-building ‘Innovation Center’ in Bridgeport sells for $7.9M
A campus in Bridgeport that houses 10 buildings and is home to more than 160 small businesses and startups has sold for $7.9 million, the Fairfield County Business Journal reported. Time Equities Inc., a New York City-based real estate firm, bought the 269,080-square-foot property at 955 Connecticut Avenue, which is known as the Bridgeport Innovation Center. This is Time Equities’ first purchase in Fairfield County, the firm’s director of acquisitions and senior counsel Max Pastor told the FBJ. He noted that the center is “a destination for all types of businesses, including those priced out of other areas of Connecticut and the greater New York metropolitan area.” CBRE procured the buyer and represented landlord Incubator Associates LP in the sale, the outlet reported. [FBJ]

Darien mansion once owned by soap magnates heading to auction
A 1938-built mansion in Darien is heading to auction, the Fairfield County Business Journal reported. The colonial home was once owned by the Yardley family, which launched a renowned soap company called Yardley Soap in England in the late 1900s, according to the FBJ. The family sold the 4.5-acre estate at 52 Dorchester Road to the founder of an automobile company in 1985. The six-bedroom home, which has a pool, gardens and stone terraces, will be auctioned off on Nov. 30. The property was “previously on the market for $3.375 million,” the outlet reported. [FBJ]

Norwalk apartment buildings near future mall hit the market
A Greenwich developer has put a pair of apartment buildings up for sale, The Norwalk Hour reported. Belpointe is selling for an undisclosed sum the buildings at 500 West Avenue and 30 Orchard Street, which are both located across from the SoNo Collection mall that’s under construction and listed with CBRE, the outlet reported. The City of Norwalk has valued the Berkeley and Quincy Lofts buildings at approximately $35.1 million and $15.9 million, respectively. The two buildings house a total of 200 apartment units. Monthly rents range from below $2,000 per month for a one-bedroom to around $3,900 for a two-bedroom, according to the outlet. [The Hour]