This Westchester development site just hit the market seeking nearly $30M

<em>North Star's site at 240 North Avenue in downtown New Rochelle and B6's Thomas Donovan (inset).</em>
North Star's site at 240 North Avenue in downtown New Rochelle and B6's Thomas Donovan (inset).

A limited liability company has hired Paul Massey’s B6 Real Estate Advisors to market a commercial building and a 16,610-square-foot lot two blocks from the New Rochelle train station in Westchester County.

The move comes amid a surge of development in New Rochelle, a New York City suburb that earlier this month announced plans for Westchester’s largest new hotel in 20 years. Thomas Donovan, a former vice chairman of capital markets at Cushman & Wakefield, is leading the assignment for the newly-formed brokerage.

B6, short for “Building by Building, Block by Block,” opened its doors last summer after Massey left Cushman & Wakefield. Massey and Donovan had both worked at the real estate services giant, as well as Massey Knakal Realty Services, acquired by Cushman & Wakefield in a $100 million deal in 2015.

Donovan, who joined B6 in September 2018, told The Real Deal that the New Rochelle site is being marketed as a residential mixed-use opportunity that is can take advantage of recent changes by the city to its zoning laws to promote mid-rise development. North Star Commercial, an LLC-based in nearby Rockland County, currently owns the property.

“We believe someone will come in and do retail on the ground floor, too, maybe some office, and the remainder will be large residential development,” Donovan said“New Rochelle is going through a revitalization, particularly near the train station. You can build up to 465,000 square feet at this site — and there are different bonuses allowed for parking, tenancies and such.”

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

North Star is marketing the 33,220-square-foot commercial building and an adjacent lot for $28 million, only four years after it acquired the property for $5.9 million, according to property records.

Donovan said changes to the zoning in downtown New Rochelle — which he called a “development friendly town” — in addition to the more than 2,000 residential units currently under construction in the city, justify the changes in pricing for the property.

Dobbs Ferry-based Ward Capital Management recently secured approvals for a 24-story, 225-key hotel that it’s planning to build at 115 Cedar Street — only a half-mile from North Star’s New Rochelle site.

“There are two very marketable characteristics about this site: The price to entry is very reasonable,” Donovan said. “A lot of sites selling everywhere are selling for $100 per buildable-square-foot. This is in the high $50s. No. 2 is that it is along the rail line. You can be in Manhattan in 25 minutes. You can be in White Plains in 25 minutes. It’s very well located in Southern Westchester.”

As noted by TRD in its inaugural Tri-State issue in February, the Westchester County Office of Economic Development granted $49 million in tax incentives for developers that resulted in $881 million in private investment in the county last year. The bulk of the residential development under construction in Westchester is slated for New Rochelle, whose development-friendly mayor Noam Bramson has approved several key projects in the city.

Massey’s B6, which maintains a large portfolio of offerings in New York and its outer boroughs, was also recently tapped by the College of New Rochelle to handle a potential sale of its 15.6-acre campus as the school prepares to close.