Two decrepit warehouses on North MacQuesten Parkway in Mount Vernon could be the key to revitalizing Fleetwood.
Enclave Equities plans to demolish the structures and build clusters of market-rate, low-rise apartment buildings.
“It’s the perfect site to get the area completely revitalized,” said Sam Mermelstein, vice president of development.
Enclave bought the warehouse at 645 MacQuesten, a half-block away from Metro-North’s Fleetwood station, and another a block or so south at 525 MacQuesten, for $9.1 million in 2006.
The warehouses have outlived their usefulness.
“The way it stands now, they make no sense,” Mermelstein said. The company is paying taxes but cannot make enough money on rents.
“They’re coming down.”
Enclave got its start in 2008 managing a portfolio of distressed properties. Now the Purchase-based company focuses on underperforming or mismanaged properties in fundamentally sound markets. It has more than 1,500 apartments and 300,000 square feet of commercial space in development, mostly in New York City and the Northeast corridor.
Mount Vernon, with three train stations and quick access to highways, is posed for development, Mermelstein said.
Enclave wants to construct five buildings with 179 apartments. One cluster will have two 5-story buildings at 645 MacQuesten next to the Classic Audi repair shop. Another cluster includes two 5-story buildings at 525 MacQuesten and a 4-story building behind them that will front on Locust Street.
Fleetwood retailers say they are hurting and need an economic shot in the arm, according to Mermelstein. Enclave sees market-rate apartments, rather than subsidized housing, as the key to stimulating a neighborhood. Yet market-rate apartments are in short supply in Mount Vernon.
“This gives them the shot,” he said. “You need to bring in people who can spend money. You bring in the people and retail will follow.”
He said the project would not strain the school system because it is designed for young professionals without children, with 600 square feet for one-bedroom units and 800 square feet for two bedrooms. He estimated that no more than six school-age children will be housed there.
The developer has passed muster with the zoning board and planning board. The architectural review board is next, and the Mount Vernon Industrial Development Agency is doing a cost-benefit analysis of the project.
Enclave has asked the IDA for sales and mortgage tax relief totaling about $1.4 million, tax abatement for 25 to 30 years and a payment in lieu of taxes agreement of $940 for one-bedroom units and $1,100 for the two-bedroom units.
The company has budgeted $43.7 million, including about $33.6 million for construction. It expects to create 200 construction jobs and 15 permanent jobs.
Enclave has applied for a demolition permit and is ready to raze the warehouses. Construction will take about 24 months.
“We believe in Mount Vernon,” Mermelstein said. “This project is really important. It will change the area for the better.”