Toll Brothers is expanding its presence in Westchester by acquiring The Collection, a proposed $136.2 million residential and retail development at the eastern gateway to downtown White Plains.
Saber Chauncey WP LLC has agreed to sell the project to Toll Brothers for about $32 million, according to Saber principal Martin Berger.
The deal was publicly revealed this morning when the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency consented to Saber assigning its rights and IDA tax benefits to TB White Plains Apartments LLC, a Toll Brothers subsidiary.
The decision to sell, Berger said after the meeting, is “bittersweet any time you spend five years or more on a project.” But he said that as the concept shifted from largely retail to 95 percent residential, it made more sense for a home builder like Toll Brothers to take over.
The Collection will be built between Westchester and Franklin Avenues. It will be across the street from The Westchester mall but in a blighted section of Westchester Avenue that, attorney David S. Steinmetz said, “needs reinvigorating.”
Plans call for two structures with 276 apartments, nearly 25,000 square feet of retail space and more than 700 parking spaces, on nearly three acres at 80-100 Westchester Ave.
The IDA granted nearly $3.4 million in sales tax and mortgage recording tax exemptions in October, and the city of White Plains has approved property tax abatement.
Saber and Toll Brothers needed the agency’s consent to transfer project rights and obligations, because the IDA holds the leasehold title to the property and leases it back to Saber.
Steinmetz said the plans and economics – including the need for tax incentives – remain the same.
Toll Brothers and Saber officials met in February with Eddie Doyle, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Westchester and Putnam Counties, to discuss the company’s labor practices.
“Amicable construction labor policies and practices were agreed to,” John McCullough of Toll Brothers said in a letter to the IDA, “that would allow for harmonious construction activities to occur during the buildout of the project.”
The IDA put two conditions on the assignment of project rights. Toll Brothers must meet again with the construction and trades council, to confirm its intentions, and it must meet with the local Service Employees International Union to discuss post-construction jobs.
CBRE Group Inc. brokered the Toll Brothers deal for Saber, led by Jeffrey Dunne in the Stamford, Connecticut office.
Toll Brothers is also building Edge-on-Hudson – condominiums, townhomes and apartments – in Sleepy Hollow, and the Carraway Luxury Apartments in Harrison.
Berger is working on a 127-apartment project just around the corner from The Collection site, at Hale and Maple Avenues, and on Hudson Heritage, a retail, hotel, residential and arts and performance space in Poughkeepsie.