The process of redeveloping the shuttered United Hospital in Port Chester moved from being a hope to becoming closer to reality at this week’s meeting of the village’s board of trustees when the property’s new owners appeared for what amounted to a meet-and-greet presentation. No conceptual plan was presented and no specifics of the project were discussed.
“Thank you for appearing this evening before us,” Mayor Richard A. Falanka said. “We certainly look forward to working with you to finally get that property developed. I think not only this board but the entire village of Port Chester is very anxious to see a final development of that area.”
The 15.45-acre site, once planned to be developed by Starwood Capital Group as a mixed-use community with housing, retail and other features, is now owned by BR RA Port Chester LLC. The BR represents BedRock Real Estate Partners and the RA refers to Rose Associates. Amy Rose, co-president and CEO of Rose Associates, and Chuck Berman, CEO of BedRock, both were on hand at the Nov. 4 meeting. Starwood’s mixed-use plan would have involved about 1 million square feet of space and cost about $450 million.
First to address the board were attorney Mark A. Chertok of the New York City law firm Sive Paget Riesel and Peter Feroe of the environmental, planning and engineering consulting firm AKRF, Inc. Feroe said, “We served as your SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) and planning consultants for the rezoning of the property when Starwood had ownership of the property for several years and we’ve been retained again by the village to help with the subsequent anticipated site plan application for that property by the new owners.”
The attorney for BR RA Port Chester LLC, Anthony B. Gioffre III of the White Plains-based law firm Cuddy & Feder, said they still are working to “come up to speed” on all of the studies and documents that previously had been prepared for the site. “We are in the preliminary phases of our due diligence. We do not have conceptual plans to present to you. It’s too premature for that, but with that, I would like to have the principals of the new owner introduce themselves to you and talk about their background. Obviously, we’re all excited to be here and to commence this next phase of the redevelopment of the United Hospital property.”
Rose said, “We’re a 98-year-old family firm based in New York City. We’re women-owned minority business I’m pleased to let you all know and extremely excited about our participation in this project.”
Rose is involved in the redevelopment of the former AT&T building at 440 Hamilton Ave. in White Plains. The company was started in 1925, has 14,000 residential units under management and counts more than 60 properties in its portfolio. It values the properties it has developed in the last five years at $2.4 billion.
Berman told the board of trustees, “I’ve been developing apartments and mixed-use developments across the United States for the last 35 years under various names. I was the founder of Avalon and Avalon Bay Communities. I ran the northeast for Trammell Crow. We think this is a terrific opportunity for us. We view it as a gateway site coming into the village.”
“We’re burning the midnight oil,” Rose said of the effort to move the United Hospital project forward.