Home Construction LI developer identifies opportunities in the Hudson Valley north of Westchester

LI developer identifies opportunities in the Hudson Valley north of Westchester

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Hudson Valley Farrell Communities
A rendering of Hudson Place at Fishkill.

A developer with more than 400 projects under its belt, many of them multimillion-dollar mansions in Florida and the Hamptons on Long Island, is leapfrogging Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties and going farther up the Hudson Valley where it sees emerging development opportunities in multifamily projects.

It is on schedule to have a project in Fishkill open by the end of October.

The developer is Farrell Building Co., which began in 1996 shortly after Joe Farrell at the age of 27 bought a parcel of land in Brookville in the town of Oyster Bay in Nassau County. He built a house, sold it and embarked on a development career. Now, operating at its headquarters in Bridgehampton, Farrell has assembled a team to cover all the bases from site selection to finance and construction oversight.

Using the banner Farrell Communities, the company has set its sights on Dutchess and Orange counties. Stephen Zagoren, chief development officer for Farrell Communities, told the Business Journal that the company has taken note of shifting populations as people become interested in moving from Manhattan to beyond Westchester and Putnam and into Dutchess and Orange.

“We have 12 to 15 projects in the Hudson Valley in various stages, more like 15. In Florida, we’ve got five or six projects going on, a combination of self-storage and multifamily. In Massachusetts, we’ve got four projects going on that are all self-storage,” he said.

Between five and six years ago, Zagoren had been involved in the self-storage business when he and Farrell got together to work on self-storage properties and then expanded into multifamily development, building on Farrell’s success in building luxury homes on Long Island and in Florida.

“We’ve taken what Joe Farrell had established on Long Island, on the eastern end of Long Island, to produce top-quality projects and we’ve transferred that to the multifamily category,” he said. “We never build anything with less than a nine-foot ceiling. We never build anything that doesn’t have top-quality cabinets and flooring and trim details and whatnot. People are getting more for their money, still at a competitive rental rate.”

Farrell has projects either completed or in some phase of development in Fishkill, Beacon, Wappinger, Middletown, Newburgh and New Windsor. He said others are in the works but declined to specify the communities, saying it would be premature.

Zagoren said that just because communities in the Hudson Valley are somewhat removed from the pressure and complexities of building closer to the heart of the New York metropolitan area’s congestion, it doesn’t mean that the approval process is any less demanding on developers.

“I was at a hearing last night. I won’t bother saying where it was because I don’t want to say anything negative about anybody or any municipality, but it started at 7 and I got out at 11 at night,” he said. “Some communities are, let’s say, more active in development than others. I wouldn’t say the Hudson Valley is any better or worse than anywhere in the country and I’ve worked on projects all over the country.”

Zagoren said that he expected to see certificates of occupancy for Farrell’s project known as Hudson Place at Fishkill in a week or 10 days from the time he was interviewed by the Business Journal.

“Originally it was called ‘Jackson Crossing’ and we renamed it because we’re going to call all of our projects ‘Hudson at’ whatever to reflect the Hudson Valley,” he said.

Some units have already been rented at the Fishkill development, located at 71-75 Jackson St., with move-ins beginning by the end of October if the schedule holds. The project on 1.6 acres features a restored carriage house in addition to new construction. Amenities include balconies, quartz counters, washers and dryers and cathedral ceilings in some units.

“What we see in the Hudson Valley is the opportunity for us as developers to get more value from the investment, and from the tenant’s perspective they can secure more value as well,” Zagoren said.

He said the company plans to stick with building rental apartments rather than condominiums.

“We see that millennials are not buying homes or condos like people of their age did in the past. I think they’re interested in other avenues, other ways to spend their money. People are more mobile and they don’t necessarily buy a home. We see the apartments are becoming more of an option and also for retired people who want to spend a little less for their occupancy costs,” he said.

Leasing also is taking place at Farrell’s Hudson Place at Gardnertown in Newburgh, a 164-unit complex of nine buildings that had been approved in May 2017 under the name Gardnertown Commons. The property formerly was an apple orchard. Another developer had proposed a condominium project for the site. Nearby residents opposed Farrell’s plan for the approximately 20-acre site.

The company has been putting together other developments for Newburgh, including Hudson Place at Lakeside, designed for adults age 55 and up; and Hudson Place at Overlook Farms. It also has under development a project known as Hudson Place at Wappingers Falls.

“Retired people in all categories are getting priced out of areas closer to Manhattan. Orange County and Dutchess County have very nice communities with the opportunity to rent an apartment or buy a home that is a little more affordable,” Zagoren said.

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