National Realty & Development Corp. is headquartered in Purchase and has built projects in 14 states, but it has avoided Westchester County.
Westchester has too many smart people finding ways to hinder developments, Jerry Bermingham, executive vice president of development and acquisitions, told a crowd gathered Wednesday at the southern tip of Davenport Neck in New Rochelle.
But when he heard that the 14.7-acre Beckwith Pointe beach club on the Long Island Sound was available, he had to take a look.
“I fell in love with it,” he said.
But there were a few pesky details.
The property was zoned for single-family houses, for which there was little demand. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 had exposed the peninsula’s vulnerability to flooding and had resulted in more stringent regulations. And NRDC was wary of a tendency by municipal governments in general to thwart developments.
Despite loving the location, Bermingham’s answer was “No.”
Then Robert C. Baker, NRDC’s chairman and CEO, took a look. He also fell in love with the site, and he concluded that this place would be successful.
“We’re selling water views,” he said at the groundbreaking for the $100 million WatermarkPointe condominiums. “There are no views like this anyplace.”
NRDC found an eager partner in the city of New Rochelle. City officials orchestrated the regulatory process and enacted new zoning to allow condominiums.
NRDC scaled back plans for 140 units to 72 – nine four-story buildings and a clubhouse – at the behest of the city.
The designs put the buildings above flood level.
Demand, Bermingham said, has been strong. Twenty-five contracts have been signed and the first three buildings are sold out.
NRDC is selling two models.
The Beachcomber, at 2,480-square-feet, has two bedrooms, a den and two-and-a-half bathrooms. The Aurora, at 2,717-square-feet, has three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms.
Both models include a 30-foot-wide terrace, “gourmet” kitchens and “spa” bathrooms.
Last year a city official said the units were to sell for $1.5 million to $2.5 million.