The Westchester County Industrial Development Agency today gave preliminary approval for $5 million in tax benefits to developer Rose Associates – with one caveat: The developer should keep talking with union representatives about a labor deal.
Rose Associates, based in Manhattan, has proposed a $203 million residential-retail project at 440 Hamilton Ave. in White Plains.
The developer plans to convert the 12-story AT&T office building, at Hamilton Avenue and North Broadway, into 255 apartments. The project also includes plans for a garage and another 213 apartments in two new buildings behind the AT&T building on Barker Avenue.
Rose expects the project to create 1,126 construction jobs, including 659 directly and 467 indirectly, for 24 to 28 months.
But it does not intend to enter a project labor agreement, according to the proposal presented to the IDA board.
“I’m disappointed to hear that,” board member Nicholas Longo said, initially signaling that he might not vote for an inducement resolution.
A representative of Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., the contractor, responded that it was too early to have a labor agreement because it was working on pre-construction demands. But, he said, the company has had preliminary discussions with labor unions.
A half-dozen union officials were at the IDA meeting, and two spoke out about the need for an agreement and for good local jobs.
Joan McDonald, the IDA chairwoman, said the purpose of the inducement resolution is to keep the project moving forward. She proposed a caveat: Whiting-Turner should continue to meet with labor union representatives so that, hopefully, by the time a public hearing is held in a month or so, they have a deal.
With that caveat, Longo said, he could support the resolution. It passed unanimously.
Rose Associates’ 440 Hamilton Owner LLC bought the AT&T property last November from American Equity Partners for nearly $8.7 million.
As currently proposed, Rose would get a $3,335,400 sales tax exemption and $1,685,630 mortgage tax exemption for a total of $5,021,030. The developer is also negotiating with White Plains for a property tax abatement deal.