A plan that will convert the former AT&T building at 440 Hamilton Ave. in downtown White Plains to a residential development with 245 units has the approval of the city.
The White Plains Common Council unanimously approved on March 6 the proposal from Long Island-based developer American Equity Partners I, which bought the building from AT&T for $20.5 million in November, according to county property records. The 1960s-era building at Hamilton Avenue and North Broadway in the White Plains Central Business District formerly served as a regional control center for AT&T. The 350,000-square-foot office building is now mostly vacant.
The plan, designed by White Plains-based Papp Architects PC, includes 245 rental apartments, with 25 units designated as affordable at 80 percent of area median income for Westchester. Seven maisonette duplex units will offer direct street access and developers will add a 13th floor to the building with five penthouse units and outdoor recreation space for residents.
Mayor Thomas Roach praised the project as a way to bring more life to Hamilton Avenue, which he described as sterile, cold and full of concrete.
“This is the first, I hope, of many changes to Hamilton Avenue which will result in a more pleasant experience for people who are walking, which a lot more people will be doing in our city as the projects get completed,” Roach said.
“Our office market is doing very well right now, but this not a building that was competitive with the other office buildings,” Roach said.
The development will have 41 studios, 120 one-bedroom units and 84 two-bedroom units. Amenities in the building will include a fitness room, bocce ball court and reading room. The top penthouse level will have a spa pool, barbecue area and lounge seating. As part of the residential conversion, the building’s limestone exterior wall will be replaced with a glass wall featuring a series of cascading glass ribbons on the North Broadway side.
A small area of ground-floor retail space will include a neighborhood market and coffee shop with access from North Broadway
“The project will enhance the pedestrian experience in the city and create a more active streetscape than what currently exists,” said Matthew R. Pisciotta, an attorney with Zarin and Steinmetz, which represents the developer.
As part of the approval, the developer will pay a $756,500 fee for a park, playground and other recreational purposes to “mitigate” recreational impact of new development. The developer will use 298 parking spots already on the site and has a joint-use agreement with AT&T to share additional parking spaces at the company’s 400 Hamilton Ave. building next door.
Philip Fruchter of Papp Architects told the Business Journal that there is no set construction date yet but the company expects to start the 16-month process within the next eight months.