In the latest proposal to convert Westchester County’s underutilized office space to other uses, a developer has filed plans to demolish a mostly vacant office building at 900 King St. in Rye Brook and build a 269-unit senior housing campus with age-restricted townhouses and apartments and an assisted living facility.
The proposal comes from the building’s owner, Rye King Associates LLC. The company is an investment partnership led by Manhattan-based commercial real estate firm George Comfort & Sons Inc.
The 215,000-square-foot, three-story building lists the administrative offices of Greenwich Hospital as its sole tenant.
The proposal, filed in late July, calls for tearing down the building and putting in its place a senior housing campus that would include a four-story structure with 160 two-bedroom apartments at the center of the site, 24 two- and three-bedroom townhouse units on the campus’ western end and about 85 units in a four-story assisted living and memory care facility on the northeast portion of the campus. The townhouse units and the apartments would require at least one resident to be age 55 or older.
Built in 1981 on a 17.3-acre site, the building was initially utilized by IBM before it was left mostly vacant through the 1990s. Toward the end of the decade, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, formerly Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, leased space and occupied the majority of the facility before leaving in 2004.
Since Snapple’s departure, the building has remained mostly vacant. In 2014, about 132,000 square feet of the building was vacant, according to the village’s master plan.
At a village planning board meeting in August, project attorney Anthony Veneziano, of Veneziano & Associates in Armonk, said the project represented a chance to “reposition a somewhat dormant, struggling office building over 200,000 square feet … into something that fits in with your comprehensive plan, the general development themes going on in adjacent municipalities and provides municipal taxes for you and hopefully with minimal impact.”
The developer has requested the village to consider amendments to the site’s zoning that would allow for additional density and building height, as well as lower the target age of residents for the senior living facilities from 62 to 55 and older.
The village board is lead agency on the project’s review, but has referred the proposal to its planning board for a recommendation. At the August hearing, planning board members expressed concern with the height and density of the project, but adjourned further review until an October meeting.
Peter S. Duncan, president and CEO of George Comfort & Sons, declined to comment on the proposal through a company spokesperson.
The project in Rye Brook marks the second proposal in the county for a George Comfort & Sons property that involves building senior housing. In White Plains, the company is leading a group of investors that has proposed converting the former Good Counsel campus on North Broadway into a mixed-use neighborhood and 125-bed assisted living facility, a 400-unit apartment building and a 66-unit student housing structure. The White Plains Common Council is still reviewing the project.
While primarily investing in and managing Manhattan office buildings, George Comfort & Sons also owns and operates The Centre at Purchase, a 676,000-square-foot office park on Manhattanville Road, in a joint venture with O’Connor Capital Partners. In Stamford, the company owns the 573,000-square-foot High Point Park and Shippan Landing, a 780,000-square-foot office complex formerly called Harbor Plaza.
The project would mark the latest in a series of office conversions in the county. Last year, Alfred Weissman Real Estate LLC started site work on a project that would demolish a mostly vacant 75,000-square-foot office building in Rye to build 135 age-restricted apartment units for people 55 and older. In Harrison, several former office buildings along the Platinum Mile have been torn down or are scheduled to be demolished for new uses, including recently a total of five buildings along Corporate Park Drive for separate projects that will create 421 new apartments by Toll Brothers and a 125,000-square-foot Wegmans grocery store.