It will be at least another year before construction begins in earnest on the mixed-use project planned by Lennar Multifamily Communities for the site of the former Pavilion Mall in White Plains, Greg Belew, LMC’s divisional president for the New York tristate area, told the Business Journal.
The old mall was torn down and the 60 S. Broadway site cleared. “We’ve had some activity in terms of doing some art installations in partnership with ArtsWestchester where we’ve had some local artists doing murals on the construction fence surrounding the site,” Belew said.
LMC had told Westchester County’s Industrial Development Agency it anticipated construction on the first phase of the two-phase project to begin in June 2020 with occupancy expected around September 2022. Phase two was expected to begin at that time with occupancy expected by September 2024. Two 28-story towers have been planned with a total of 814 apartments. There would be 28,000 square feet of retail and dining along with 932 parking spaces. The cost of each phase of the project has been estimated at $250 million.
“We are still very bullish on White Plains,” Belew said. “We think it’s a great market and will continue to be so.”
He said though construction at 60 S. Broadway has been delayed, activity on LMC’s project on a site that begins on Mitchell Place and runs through to the corner of Mamaroneck Avenue and East Post Road has been in high gear. The project is known as The Mitchell. The Pavilion site is being used to store some materials needed for The Mitchell.
“We’ve seen new properties come online in the market and lease ups have gone very well. We’re confident that ours will also,” Belew said. “When our project on Mamaroneck Avenue is delivering, just knowing the other properties in the market and where they will be in lease ups, there likely will not be too much coming into the market at the same time.”
The Mitchell is being constructed on properties carrying the addresses of 9 Mitchell Place and 131 Mamaroneck Ave. Alliance Residential Co. had received approvals for a project it called Broadstone White Plains. LMC bought the properties in 2018. The parcels cover approximately 2.1 acres. The plans call for two 15-story buildings and a six-story parking structure. There would be 434 apartments ranging from studios to three-bedroom units. The plan includes about 8,000 square feet of ground-level retail and restaurant space along Mamaroneck Avenue.
Belew noted that LMC’s activity in White Plains coincides with its project slated to open in the summer of 2021 in Stamford. Known as The Smythe, it’s a mixed-use, 15-story building featuring 414 apartments, 19,330 square feet of retail and three levels of parking. The Smythe is at 885 Washington Blvd. and is being promoted as within walking distance of The Palace Theater, The Stamford Center for the Arts and Miller River Park.
“We like southern Fairfield County a lot and we’ll continue to look for other opportunities in the area,” Belew said. “What we tend to see a lot of in these markets like White Plains or Stamford is that as you get even more residential density downtown, oftentimes you have the entertainment and nightlife scene really follow. You generate even more demand and you have more people downtown and more entertainment and nightlife value in the immediate surrounding area.”
While the parent Lennar operation is well-known as a creator of single-family developments, LMC has communities with some 28,800 units valued at $11.2 billion operating or under development.
“We’ve probably exceeded all expectations as to how quickly we’ve grown and how successful we’ve been as part of the company,” Belew said of LMC. “We have 13 offices all over the country and I think when you look at the ranking of top national developers around the country, we’re generally within the top five.”
LMC is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Todd Farrell is its president. The parent company, Lennar Corporation, based in Miami, is publicly traded and for its 2018 fiscal year reported revenue of $20.6 billion, net earnings of $1.7 billion and deliveries of 45,627 new homes. The Lennar Multifamily segment of the business was responsible for $42.7 million in earnings for the 2018 fiscal year.
“We have a solid pipeline of projects into the future that you’ll see coming out as time goes on,” Belew said.
“There’s been such a shortage of new rental product in the Northeast that the attitude on the part of a lot of developers was, ‘build it and they will come.’ Now that there’s been a lot more development in recent times it has forced the development community to produce a high-quality product that’s more fully amenitized. You’ve really gotten into an amenity arms race,” he said.
LMC also has been looking at the workforce portion of the market.
“Despite doing the top-of-the-market, high-end buildings, we are also now starting to focus more attention on the workforce housing market which, I think, is a different product that is not necessarily in the immediate urban core. It tends to have a slightly different renter. The workforce housing market will be high-quality, but it will be more affordable to a broader spectrum of renters,” Belew said.