Mamaroneck-based Verco Properties, under affiliated company VRV Corp., has bought two White Plains apartment communities developed by David Mann and his Lighthouse Living company. The developments are The Reed at 115 N. Broadway and The Dylan at 42 Waller Ave. The purchase price for each was $11 million.
The Reed is 3 stories and has 23 units. The Dylan is 4 stories and has 24 units and commercial space on the ground floor. Both used modular construction and were built in 2015.
“We like owning boutique residential communities and those types of properties,” John Verni, principal and partner of Verco Properties, told the Business Journal. “We acquired those properties when they became available because we want to be more in Westchester, which is our home.”
Verni said Mann did a “very good job” of developing the properties, emphasized that they’re comparatively new and expressed confidence that they will not require renovation.
Verni said Verco sold some of its Manhattan properties and decided to diversify more into Westchester.
“I think that the rent regulations have become onerous to navigate in New York City,” he said. “We’ve done it for 75 years, but I think there are opportunities outside of New York City and there comes a time when the millennials are looking to move out of the city and into places like White Plains and Harrison and along the train lines and so we’re doing that.”
Verco Properties had its founding when Giovanni Verni came to the U.S. from Bari, Italy, in 1919 and started Verni’s Market, a family grocery store, on the corner of York Avenue and 89th Street in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, one block from Gracie Mansion. He bought the building in the 1940s and his family lived in an apartment above the store. The family subsequently bought other buildings on the Upper East Side, renovated them and attracted middle-class New Yorkers as tenants.
John Verni sees The Dylan and The Reed as having great appeal to millennials as well as empty nesters who are selling their houses and seeking to downsize. White Plains-based DeLaurentis Management, which provides real estate leasing, management and maintenance services, showed a 900-square-foot, one-bedroom unit at The Reed renting for $2,575 a month and a 1,500-square-foot, two-bedroom unit at $3,425. At The Dylan, a one-bedroom, 800-square-foot unit is listed at $1,450 a month and a two-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot unit is $2,950.
Verni said some millennials who have been in Manhattan and Brooklyn are now ready to enter a new stage of life and are looking to settle in Westchester.
“They are not ready to buy their first home, but want a walkable downtown with the amenities that they’ve become used to in Manhattan and Brooklyn. White Plains offers that and some of the towns and villages are trying to provide that as well,” he said.
Verni said The Dylan and The Reed are in the category of developments that allow empty nesters to stay in their communities.
“There also are the folks who are going through a transition in their lives, marital or otherwise, and are looking for that type of housing,” he said. “We also see a certain segment of new immigrants to the area coming in.”
Verni noted that the company renovated the former Mamaroneck train station, which now houses a restaurant on the main level. Verco Properties has its office on the second floor of the building. It is making steady progress on converting the Harrison movie theater property into 36 units of transit-oriented housing while retaining street-level retail space.
“We’ve done the demolition and we’re getting ready to pour the foundations and start going up on the redevelopment. Probably the end of next year is when we’ll be occupying the units there,” Verni said.
The project, known as the Harrison Playhouse Lofts, is being built with green technologies, roof terraces, a community patio and gardens, an on-site gym and yoga area and a screening room to pay homage to the movie theater which operated from the late 1920s into the 1990s.
“We’re also, as part of our repositioning our portfolio, acquiring a property in Connecticut. We haven’t closed on it yet, but we’re buying a 55-unit adapted mill, an old mill that’s been converted to 55 units of housing on a lake with a waterfall that runs through it, so it’s a very cool property. It’s in Glastonbury,” Verni told the Business Journal.