On a 31-acre plot of land behind a set of 3-story, glass-paneled office buldings in Reckson Executive Park in Rye Brook, a flurry of activity on a Friday morning saw construction crews working between three newly built model homes, finishing hardwood floors, painting and installing cabinets.
The single-family homes need to be ready by the end of the month, when residential developer Sun Homes plans to officially unveil Kingfield, a $125 million planned neighborhood with 85 townhomes priced from $950,000 and 25 single-family homes priced from $1.4 million.
Pawling-based Sun Homes expects to sell and construct the townhomes and single-family houses within the next two years. Once constructed, the housing development will bring a final use for a desirable patch of land behind the six-building Rye Brook office portfolio that has remained in limbo for well over a decade. The office park is owned and operated by Reckson Operating Partnership L.P., a division of SL Green Realty Corp.
The single-family homes and townhomes from Sun Homes will offer a “maintenance-free” lifestyle, with amenities that include two-car garages and gourmet kitchens. The property, accessed through International Drive off Route 120A in Rye Brook, will featuresa half-mile of walking trails and a 3,200-square-foot clubhouse with a fitness center and outdoor pool and spa.
The townhouse units will range from 2,400-square-feet to 4,500-square-feet, with different layout and customization options. Ten percent of the units will be marketed at rents designated as affordable for families making 80 percent of area median income.
Bill McGuiness, partner at Sun Homes, said the company specializes in offering townhomes “that offer zero maintenance on the outside, but on the inside offer very house-like size and finishes, such as a double garage. So it’s a house-like experience, without any of the headaches.”
Sun Homes, a partnership between McGuiness and Bob Dale, has developed Kensett, a 77-home community in Darien; Palmer Hill, a 195-home community in Stamford and The Willows at Crestwood, a 40-home townhouse community in Yonkers.
Sun Homes became involved in the Rye Brook project when a higher up at Reckson toured one of the model homes the company built in Darien in 2014. He liked the look of the home, McGuiness said, and called up the company to see if Sun Homes was interested in touring the Reckson Executive Park property for a possible housing development.
Reckson was searching for a use for phase three of its Reckson Executive Park. About 40 acres of the 80-acre site is developed with six Class A office buildings comprising a total of 540,000-square-feet. The 31 undeveloped acres offer quick access to the Hutchinson Parkway and abut Doral Arrowwood Resort to its south and SUNY Purchase College to its west.
The property was initially targeted by Reckson for another office park. The company submitted plans to the village of Rye Brook in the late ’90s and received approval to build a 280,000-square-foot office building with 1,120 parking spaces. Reckson was unable to secure a major tenant for the building, however, and never followed through with the plans.
In 2012, Reckson proposed a 4-rink 140,000-square-foot ice skating facility for the property. But those plans were withdrawn a year later amid community backlash. The company said at the time it would consider other options for the property.
McGuiness said the property represented a clear opportunity for Sun Homes. There had already been successful housing developments nearby in the Bellefair and Doral Greens neighborhoods.
“It’s an excellent location,” McGuiness said. “The commute is good, there are a lot of services in the area and, while I wouldn’t call it a bargain, relative to Rye and Greenwich around it, there’s value there.”
The Kingfield townhomes will be mostly three-bedroom, with some four-bedrooms available as well. The homes will be targeted especially to empty nesters and smaller households, such as young families starting out.
Joshua M. Rogull, of Rogull Realty LLC and director of sales for Kingfield, said new housing construction has been in demand in Westchester, particularly the “maintenance-free” variety
Buyers “want a community lifestyle and maintenance-free,” Rogull said. That group includes first-time buyers up from Manhattan and empty nesters who may have moved down to the city but are now coming back, he added.
McGuiness said what makes Sun Home unique as a residential developer is that it handles every stage of home construction, including architecture, construction, sales and warranty. That offers the company the advantage of having full control over its product, McGuiness said.
“We have our own style that we have developed over the last 15 years and a construction team we’re comfortable with,” McGuiness said.
Sun Homes started site work on the project last fall and will open the furnished models on Oct. 28. The company is targeting next year for first occupancy.