Former Rye Playland operator files for bankruptcy, Darien gets a co-working space for women & more Westchester & Fairfield real estate news

<em>Clockwise from top left: Company that lost contract to manage Rye Playland files for bankruptcy, Fairfield County gets its first women-focused co-working space, a glass house built amid the ruins of a mansion in Tuxedo Park seeks $2.35M and report finds that Westport (credit: WestportWiki) is among several wealthy towns fighting affordable housing.</em>
Clockwise from top left: Company that lost contract to manage Rye Playland files for bankruptcy, Fairfield County gets its first women-focused co-working space, a glass house built amid the ruins of a mansion in Tuxedo Park seeks $2.35M and report finds that Westport (credit: WestportWiki) is among several wealthy towns fighting affordable housing.

Company that lost Rye Playland contract files for bankruptcy
The company that was supposed to start managing the Rye Playland amusement park until Westchester County Executive George Latimer recently severed ties with it has filed for bankruptcy in White Plains, Bloomberg reported. Standard Amusements filed for Chapter 11 on Monday, claiming that it had shelled out more than $9 million in funds related to Rye Playland but hadn’t received anything in return, according to the Daily Voice Plus. Court records show that Rye-based Standard Amusements, advised by the law firm O’Melveny & Myers, owes money to a handful of other large law firms — $178,130.04 to Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan; $55,569.05 to Akerman and $19,572.84 to DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr in White Plains — and $145,282.98 to Long Island City-based design firm Atelier New York Architecture. Latimer ended Westchester’s 30-year contract with the company at the end of April, saying the county “wanted to see the energy, excitement and drive in Standard Amusements’ vision for Playland — we didn’t just want a real estate deal.” Standard Amusements’ founder Nicholas Singer, however, maintained in court papers that Westchester made false claims about his firm, and accused Latimer’s administration of “neglecting its duties to manage and invest in the Park.” In his own statement, Latimer said his team would “continue to address this matter as it will now be dealt with by the bankruptcy court,” adding that they were focused on ensuring Playland has a “vibrant and successful 2019 season.” [Bloomberg]

Fairfield County gets its first women-focused co-working space
A women-focused co-working space has set up shop in Darien, the Greenwich Time reported. Hayvn at 320 Boston Post Road is the first of its kind in Fairfield County, founder Felicia Rubinstein told the outlet. The space is around 7,000 square feet and includes offices, conference rooms, a podcasting room and “a quiet room for lactation or meditation.” Rubinstein said her own experience running her marketing firm, Maven Marketing, informed her decision to open Hayvn. “Having my own business, I needed a space like this because I needed to connect with other women for working purposes, to share projects and different things like that,” she said. The co-working space, one of several to recently emerge in suburbia, joins a number of other co-working sites that are up and running in the area, including Workpoint in Stamford. [Greenwich Time]

Westport among wealthy towns fighting affordable housing
A battle to keep a developer from building a mix of multifamily and single-family housing in Westport is representative of a larger effort on behalf of wealthy towns in Connecticut “to block affordable housing and, by extension, the people who need it,” according to a recent investigative report released by the Connecticut Mirror and ProPublica. Dozens of towns in Connecticut have kept private developers from building duplexes and apartments over the past 20 years, “often through exclusionary zoning requirements,” according to the report. In Westport, private developers have created just 65 affordable housing units within the past 30 years. In an interview, Stamford native and former Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said the statistics show that “the vestiges of our racial past are far from over.” [CTMirror]

Glass house built amid Tuxedo Park mansion ruins seeks $2.4M
A glass house built on a Tuxedo Park site where a Gilded Age mansion once stood is on the market for $2.38 million, LoHud reported. The original mansion — built back in 1903 for future World War I hero-turned-stockbroker Col. Frank Keech — was “reduced to rubble” after Keech enlisted his chauffeur to burn it down for insurance money, according to the outlet. (Keech killed himself before facing trial.) Artist Edgar Bertolucci designed the current home in 1970 within the ruins of the mansion, which include “stone terraces, intricately built stone fountains, ponds and walking paths,” according to LoHud. The three-bedroom home, known as “The Gallery,” sits on 6.8 acres at 14 Butternut Road and has a patio with gardens that overlook Tuxedo Lake. Barbara du Pont of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing. [LoHud]

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Kleban Properties helps rescue historic Fairfield theater
After being dormant for nearly a decade, Fairfield’s Community Theatre has found new life thanks to Kleban Properties and Sacred Heart University, the Connecticut Post reported. The Fairfield-based school has signed a 10-year lease for the site, which is now set to be redeveloped by Fairfield-based Kleban Properties as it negotiates a purchase of the property at 1410 Post Road. On the site will rise the new Sacred Heart University Community Theater, which expects to open next year and serve as a performing arts venue and arts and education facility, according to local news reports“What we plan… is going to be absolutely transformative,” Kleban Properties chairman Albert Kleban told the outlet. “This is going to change Fairfield’s center dramatically.” Kleban and Sacred Heart estimate that the cost of redeveloping the theater, which opened in 1920 and closed its doors in 2011, will be between $3 million and $5 million. [CTPost]

Construction could begin for long-awaited Monroe retail project
The Shoppes at Victoria Place, a new “village-style” shopping center planned for the site of a former industrial property in Monroe, could begin soon, the Daily Voice Plus reported. Kimball Development, a Monroe-based firm led by local developer John Kimball, received planning and zoning approvals back in 2014 for a 161,000-square-foot retail building that it called Victoria Place. Earlier this month, the Connecticut Post reported that Robert Dunbar, another local developer, had sought municipal approval to turn the now-vacant lot into a retail hub for Monroe, which has watched similar projects take root in nearby Bridgeport and Trumbull. The DVP noted that Dunbar is hoping to bring a mix of restaurants and retail stores, including national brands, to Victoria Place. [DVP]

Judge dismisses Palisades Center owner’s expansion lawsuit
The owner of Palisades Center in West Nyack, Rockland County, has lost its bid to get approval to expand without voter approval, LoHud reported. Delaware-based EklecCo NewCo, which owns and operates the mall, claimed in a lawsuit that a restrictive covenant preventing it from expanding without a public referendum breached its rights. Last week, however, a federal judge in White Plains dismissed the company’s case. The same judge also nixed EklecCo’s claims in June 2018, but gave the company a chance to re-argue some of them, according to the outlet. EklecCo filed its lawsuit in 2016 after years of negotiations with the Town of Clarkstown. Local residents voted in 2002 that the mall shouldn’t be allowed to expand. “We are pleased that the federal judge supported the town’s position and look forward to putting this costly litigation behind us,” Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann said. Lohud noted that Palisades Center, which opened in 1998, generated $21.4 million in property taxes and $23.5 million in sales tax revenue for Rockland in 2018. [LoHud]