Developer gets $1.1 million in tax relief for Mamaroneck apartments

By Bill Heltzel

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Westchester County has authorized more than $1.1 million in tax relief for a company developing 100 rental units on distressed property in Mamaroneck.

The county Industrial Development Agency approved a deal with Sheldrake Station Development LLC on Sept. 8.

The principal owners are Jon L. Halpern, managing director of Halpern Real Estate Ventures in Manhattan, and Michael Rosen of Rosen Management Corp.

The IDA approved exemptions of $800,000 on sales and use taxes and $325,000 on the mortgage recording tax. The agency agreed to take title and possession of the property at 270 Waverly Ave. and lease it back to the developer.

The $34 million project includes 101,000 square feet in four buildings: a 4-unit attached town house, two 4-story buildings and one 3-story building. Five apartments will be offered as affordable housing.

The project is on 2.8 acres near the town’s commercial center and Metro-North Railroad station. It is in a flood zone along the Sheldrake River.

The site elevation will be raised, according to the project application, and the company will work with the Army Corps of Engineers to widen the river.

The developer has agreed to pay the town $125,000 for surplus land, and the town will use the money to improve the Waverly Avenue bridge.

Part of the property had significant environmental problems from use as an auto wrecking business and junkyard for 50 years, according to a bankruptcy court document. The Blood Brothers auto wrecking business was seen as a potential source of contamination to the river and to the Long Island Sound.

The site has since been cleared.

AMEC Construction of Norwalk, Connecticut is the contractor. The work is expected to create 113 construction jobs. Five full-time positions will be created when the buildings open.

A previous developer envisioned condominiums, but Sheldrake Station Development decided that the rental market makes more sense now.

The apartment vacancy rate in Westchester is below 4 percent, and more than half of the apartments were developed before 1979.

“As older housing stock continues toward obsolescence,” the developer wrote in the IDA application, “there is a demonstrated demand for new housing stock. New supply has been limited, particularly in Mamaroneck where Avalon Willow is the only large-scale multifamily development to be constructed in the last 20 years.”

Ofer Attia of New Rochelle tried to develop the same place 10 years ago. He got the site rezoned. His proposed project went through an extensive environmental review. A site plan was approved. Fees were paid to the city.

But in 2008, he was denied a building permit.

Attia claimed in court filings that a new mayor who had run on an anti-development platform had conspired with town officials to stop the project.

His company, Sheldrake Lofts LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010. Attia filed adversarial proceedings against the town in bankruptcy court. In 2012, Mamaroneck agreed to a settlement, paying Attia $390,000 and recognizing the validity of the original site plan.

Attia had borrowed $12 million from Remediation Capital Funding and by 2012 he owed nearly $14 million. Bankruptcy Court authorized a real estate auction.

A joint venture of Halpern Real Estate Ventures and Rosen Management Corp. submitted the winning bid of $3.5 million and gained control of the site.

Sheldrake Station Development plans to begin construction in October and finish by February 2018.

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About the author

Bill Heltzel
Bill Heltzel has covered criminal justice, courts, government and sports – as a beat reporter and investigative reporter – for daily newspapers in Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. He worked for Bloomberg LP in training and sales. He joined The Business Journal in 2016.
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