Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc. has sold for $56.6 million its vacant Westchester Pavilion property on South Broadway in downtown White Plains to an affiliate of the national residential developer planning a $275 million, three-year redevelopment of the shopping mall site as a high-rise apartment, retail and restaurant complex.
The developer, Lennar Multifamily Communities LLC, is a subsidiary of Lennar Corp., a Miami-based real estate development and management company and one of the nation’s largest homebuilders. The White Plains Common Council one year ago approved Lennar’s plan to raze Urstadt Biddle’s 185,000-square-foot shopping mall on the nearly four-acre site and erect two 24-story residential towers with 707 rental units. Designed by Perkins Eastman, the towers will be built above nearly 94,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space fronting South Broadway and Maple Avenue.
A rendering of the proposed project at the current site of Westchester Pavilion.
The Westchester County Industrial Development Agency has approved approximately $14.5 million in exemptions on a mortgage recording tax and sales taxes on Lennar’s construction and equipment purchases for the project at 60 S. Broadway. Lennar officials said the redevelopment will create an estimated 2,895 construction jobs and 72 permanent jobs.
Urstadt Biddle, a publicly traded equity real estate investment trust headquartered in Greenwich and a prominent owner and operator of retail shopping centers in Westchester and Fairfield counties, in 2002 paid $39.9 million for the former Alexander’s Department Store property on South Broadway. The enclosed mall in recent years was left largely vacant by a tenant drain as new competition in the White Plains central business district emerged with the development of City Center and arrival of Whole Foods and other national retailers on nearby Bloomingdale Road.
Urstadt Biddle initially proposed in 2013 to city officials to undertake the site’s mixed-use redevelopment on its own, but reached a purchase agreement with Lennar about two years ago.
Steven R. Smalheiser, principal at Smalheiser and Partners in Armonk, represented Lennar in the transaction.
“Recognizing that our company is not an expert in large-scale, high-rise construction,” Urstadt Biddle Properties President and CEO Willing L. Biddle said in the company’s Wednesday announcement of the sale, “we elected to sell the property to Lennar Multifamily Communities, which will follow through on our dream of building a beautiful, new mixed-use complex that will bring new life and vitality to the southeast end of White Plains.”
Biddle said the $56.6 million sales price “is a substantial premium over the price that we paid for the property, and when this premium is combined with the strong annual return we made operating the property, it is clear that the Pavilion was a very good investment for our company.”