A vision for the city of White Plains to transform an industrial dead end near its train station into a hip residential neighborhood took a step forward with the opening of Norden Lofts, a 65-unit apartment building on Westmoreland Avenue.
The city’s Common Council voted to rezone Westmoreland Avenue in 2015, allowing mixed-use residential buildings onto the one-way street that is home to a Westy Self Storage building and some light industrial operations, including an auto repair shop and meat wholesaler.
Norden Lofts represents the first apartments to open on the avenue since the change. The building, at 121 Westmoreland Ave., features a fitness center, bocci court, club room, lounge areas and gated parking. Rents will range from $1,925 to $3,550 for the building’s 42 studios, 20 one-bedroom apartments and five two-bedroom units.
The walk from the building’s front door to the White Plains train station is less than a mile, which the building’s marketing team said is ideal for Manhattan commuters.
“The apartments have only recently been listed and we’ve already rented a high percentage of the units, mostly to professionals who commute to the city, as well as to those looking for an ‘urban chic’ home where they can meet other people with similar interests,” said Andrew Rogovic, an associate broker with Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty.
The estimated $16 million project, from Rockland County developer Norben Lofts LLC, converted a 6-story, 48,000-square-foot industrial building first occupied in the 1940s by Norden Laboratories Corp. Later known as Norden Systems, the electronics research and development company was a manufacturer of aircraft electronic systems that started with World War II bombsights. The company later focused its presence in Norwalk, Connecticut, before being shut down in 2013, at which point it was an entity of Northrop Grumman Corp.
The Westmoreland building was later used as headquarters for ARC of Westchester, but the nonprofit service agency for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities moved out a decade ago.
The developer bought the building for $4.3 million in December 2015 from an affiliate of Robert Martin Co. in Elmsford, according to county property records. Robert Martin Co. had bought the building from a Massachusetts property investor for $800,000 in spring 2014 before the corridor was rezoned.
More apartments may follow the Norden Lofts. Just across the street, the city gave approvals in January 2017 for a new, loft-style apartment building that will rise over a vacant lot.
The proposal came from Westmoreland Lofts LLC., a joint venture of HayMax Capital and Red Starr Investments LLC. The developers got approval for a new, 5-story structure at 136-158 Westmoreland Ave. that would feature 62 loft-style rental apartments and ground level retail likely to be occupied by a green grocer and brewery.
The two projects share an architect. Both were designed by Philip A. Fruchter, principal of White Plains-based Papp Architects PC. Fruchter told the Business Journal in a 2017 interview that the new building would be designed in an industrial warehouse style to match the rest of the street.