Now with more than 80 percent of its commercial space leased and a deal recently closed on its 8 acres of residential space, project co-developer Corey Rabin can safely say that the $150 million Rivertowns Square project in Dobbs Ferry has entered the home stretch of development.
“It’s very gratifying to be right around the corner from seeing this vision we had more than five years ago,” Rabin said. “At times we didn’t think we were going to get to the finish line, but we just keep believing we’re going to get there.”
On Aug. 6, Saber Dobbs Ferry LLC, the joint venture between Rabin’s Dobbs Ferry Capital Partners LLC and partner and developer Martin Berger’s Armonk-based Saber Real Estate Advisors, closed on a $9.6 million sale of an 8-acre parcel to Dallas-based Lincoln Property Co. for the mixed-use development’s residential component. The real estate company plans to develop a 202-unit, 277,000-square-foot luxury rental apartment building off Danforth Avenue at the north end of the complex.
The center, located on the east end of Dobbs Ferry on the site of the former Akzo Nobel Chemical Co. campus, has 116,000 square feet of commercial space that is now more than 80 percent booked, with tenants including Mrs. Green’s Natural Food Market, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Buddha Asian Grill, Chop’t Salad, The Learning Experience, Ulta Salon and Dobbs Ferry Gym, which is designed for children.
New Hampshire-based XSS Hotels planned to build a 138-room, 83,000-square-foot Hilton Garden Inn on Livingstone Avenue, but the company pulled out of that deal earlier this year. A hotel identical to the Hilton Garden Inn will still be built on the property. Rabin said an announcement regarding the new hotel will be made in the next month.
Saber Dobbs Ferry made a deal nine months ago with iPic Theaters, the Florida-based theater chain, to open an eight-screen theater at Rivertowns Square. A deal with Robert Redford’s Sundance Cinemas LLC fell through roughly two years ago, which led to bringing in the luxury movie chain known for its on-site restaurants this year.
The new deal decreased the number of theater seats from 1,350 to 650, though Rabin said they are more higher-end and movie selections will cater to an older crowd. The seats at the iPic theater will be larger in size than those that were planned for the Sundance Cinema.
Rabin hoped by mid-next year the square’s first stores would be open, complementing the 4,500-member New York Sports Club, Starbucks, GNC and Smoothie King locations at the adjacent Chauncey Square shopping center. On its website, Rivertowns Square markets itself to prospective tenants through its location along the Saw Mill River Parkway — which sees 61,000 cars daily, according to the developer — and Westchester’s standing as the nation’s seventh-most affluent county. Those retailers would be included within the parameters of Rivertowns Square. Rabin said Greenstone Realty in Manhattan, the exclusive leasing agent for the center, plans to lease the remaining 20 percent of commercial space closer to the opening date next year.
Still available retail spaces include seven locations totaling roughly 48,000 square feet.
The developers hope to create “diversity” and “synergy” among the center’s tenants, he said.
“We want to make our shopping center is the most attractive place in Westchester,” Rabin said.
Since closing on the property in September 2010, the path to near completion has been far from smooth for the developers. Nearly a half-dozen public hearings have been held with the village’s planning board throughout an extensive SEQRA process. Residents of both Dobbs Ferry and Ardsley voiced concerns over increased traffic from the project, which required developers to create ample parking, sidewalks, bicycle paths as part of mitigation of getting approval.
Nearly all the demolition of the former Akzo Nobel property is complete, though Rabin said a considerable amount of earth-moving needs to be done as well as changes to road elevations.
Plans include a traffic rotary at the intersection of Livingstone Avenue and Lawrence Street and the construction of six new traffic lanes on Lawrence Street to accommodate increased traffic.
“I think people will find it to be an incredible improvement,” Rabin said. “Change is tough to get used to but I think this is a change that people will really appreciate.”
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