RPW Group has expanded its considerable Westchester Avenue office portfolio with a $14.75 million purchase of 925-1025 Westchester Ave., two buildings totaling 192,711 square feet in White Plains.
The deal was announced Tuesday by CBRE Group Inc., which represented the seller and procured the buyer.
While CBRE declined to disclose the seller, the buildings were previously part of Normandy Real Estate Partners LLC’s Westchester office park portfolio, branded as The Exchange.
“These are two great buildings that complement our portfolio,” said Robert Weisz, CEO of the Rye Brook-based RPW Group. “We have approximately 3 million square feet in Westchester, especially on the east side of the county, and we felt this was a great opportunity to add more square footage.”
RPW Group is one of the largest private holders of office space in the county. Its portfolio includes 1133 Westchester Ave. and 800 Westchester Ave., two former corporate office buildings totaling more than 1 million square feet that Weisz purchased and converted into multitenant properties.
While the company has made a couple of deals for office properties in Manhattan (in 2014 and 2016), this deal marks RPW Group’s first purchase in Westchester for close to a decade. That dates back to 2009, when the company paid $20.8 million to buy back the 146,000-square-foot CrossWest Office Center building at 399 Knollwood Road in Greenburgh that it had sold to SL Green Realty Corp. two years earlier for $31.6 million. RPW Group sold the building again in 2015 for $24.5 million to SKA Equities LLC.
“I had stopped buying a few years ago, but now we are going to intensify acquisitions once again,” Weisz said.
He said a main factor driving that change is the incorporation of his son and daughter into the company, RPW vice presidents Andrew Weisz and Alexandra Weisz. Future deals, the CEO said, would likely concentrate on areas where the company has “a strong presence and want to grow further.”
That includes around I-287, which he called the spine of the county, and Mamaroneck Avenue, where RPW already owns a 223,000-square-foot office building at 440 Mamaroneck Ave. in Harrison.
The 925 and 1025 buildings are about 65 percent occupied, CBRE reported. Weisz said RPW is planning upgrades to the buildings’ elevators and utilities, common areas and bathrooms, and landscaping. He expects the building should draw a mix of professional firms.
“Technology, advertising, insurance, banking – it’s going to be a cross-section,” Weisz said. “The buildings have great parking, and the location is very accessible and convenient to the (Hutchinson River Parkway), I-95 and the west side of the county. So we think that will attract all types of industries.”
The deal represents the latest shake-up to Normandy’s Westchester portfolio, a group of 14 office buildings that totaled about 1.5 million square foot along I-287 when Normandy took over the properties in early 2009 from RXR Realty LLC. Normandy branded them as The Exchange.
The portfolio, built by Westchester developer Lowell Schulman in the 1970s and ‘80s, originally included 701-777 Westchester Ave., 925 and 1025 Westchester Ave., 2500 and 2700 Westchester Ave., and 103, 105, 106, 108 and 110 Corporate Park Drive.
CBRE noted in its announcement that the 925 and 1025 Westchester Ave. buildings received improved amenity spaces under the previous owners that should make the property attractive in a tight market.
“The landscape of the Westchester Avenue and I-287 corridor is shifting, especially as new retailers like Wegmans and Life Time fitness enter the market and offer new amenities for the community,” said CBRE Vice Chairman Jeffrey Dunne. Dunne represented the seller along with Steven Bardsley and Stuart MacKenzie of CBRE’s Institutional Properties Group, in collaboration with Brian Carcaterra of CBRE’s Advisory & Transaction Services Group and Ten-X, an online real estate marketplace.
Dunne added that the region’s shift is “creating a tightened office market and should bode well for RPW in attracting new tenants and leasing up the remaining vacancies at 925-1025 Westchester Avenue.”