A developer from Mamaroneck that normally specializes in luxury homes has joined with Atria Senior Living and the Related Cos. to propose a 190-unit senior living community that would be on an 11-acre parcel in New Rochelle near Lake Innisfree, which also has been dubbed Lake Isle, as in the country club. The street address is 250 Wilmot Road and the project is called Wilmot Lakeside Living.
KOSL Building approached Louisville-based Atria Senior Living and the two organizations then brought Related Cos. on board. Atria already operates senior living facilities in Ardsley, Briarcliff Manor, Ossining, Rye Brook, Darien, Stamford and Ridgefield among its more than 210 locations in the U.S. and Canada.
Laura Miller, new product development director at Atria, told the Business Journal, “The location is perfect. We also like that there is a need for senior housing in Westchester County, especially in New Rochelle. The current supply is not adequate and we would like to help fill that gap.”
Miller said that Atria would expect the project not to have negative neighborhood impacts.
“Less than 10% of our residents actually drive. We have all the services that they need in the community, whether it’s dining, a restaurant, a hair salon. The activities come to us. We do have shuttle buses so we can take people around outside of the community. Most of our supplies are brought in through FedEx and UPS, so those typically come in a once-a-day truck. Our food vendors don’t bring large semi-trucks; they’re in smaller vans on scheduled routes and they’re there a couple of times a week. Our traffic is pretty low.”
Oran Ben-Simon, vice president of KOSL, said that they realized that while it was possible to build single-family homes on the property, if the city’s senior living overlay zone (SC Overlay Zone) that allows multifamily senior living in single-family zones on sites of at least 5 acres could be applied they’d be able to put the property to a better use. The overlay zone would allow up to three stories or 35 feet in height. He said that the partners on the project do not yet own the property but are contract vendees for the acreage.
“Single-family homes benefit just that: single families. We could have easily built up to 11 homes, but who would that be benefiting? It would be people who would be coming mainly from the city (New York) because of the Covid pandemic or other affluent areas like Scarsdale that want to have an extra tax break,” Ben-Simon said.
“This is something that is intended for seniors who live in New Rochelle and the surrounding community that want to reside within the local area that they grew up in and call home. It’s also the very essence of smart growth by using land more efficiently by creating more open green space and using a transitional layout so you can accommodate various people in various stages of life all while having communal amenities and benefits.”
Ben-Simon said that while KOSL has broad expertise in single-family luxury homes, they “partnered-up with Atria Senior Living and Related Companies who are masters in their field.”
Related Cos. was founded by Steven M. Ross, who also is the owner of the Miami Dolphins. The company says it has more than $60 billion in real estate assets either owned or under development. Major projects include Hudson Yards in Manhattan, Lovejoy Wharf in Boston and a 62-acre mixed-use development in Chicago. The company has worked with Atria before.
“We think it is a unique site for this use and we think that the demographics here make sense for us to build a project that is much-needed,” Chad Jones, vice president of development for Related told the Business Journal.
“We don’t anticipate there being any major site impediments to building. Related brings to the project team financial strength and all of the relationships that we have as an institutional real estate builder, owner and operator that’s been in the business for decades,” Jones said.
“So, we bring to the community and project certainty of execution. To the extent that we’re successful in our zoning process, the community can take comfort knowing that we will build and along with Atria we will operate for the foreseeable future a very great project in the neighborhood.”
While there is no immediate timetable for submission of applications to the city of New Rochelle for site plan approval and use of the overlay zone on the site, a project website, wilmotlakesideliving.com, has been established to present the concept to the community, outline its potential benefits and seek feedback.
Ben-Simon said that the approval process with New Rochelle would be slightly different for the company since it is used to doing projects where building takes place without zoning changes or major waivers being required.
“We’re used to coming in, dealing with the pitchforks, the screaming or the silence after the fact,” Ben-Simon said. “This was a different approach because it’s something that people have an emotional attachment to, meaning that people perceive something that is really being built for the community.
“Because this is something that is citywide beneficial, beyond the accommodation for seniors, we felt that we wanted to approach this in a very transparent and professional manner. A lot of times in my experience we’ve gone for developments and while we’re in the entitlement stage a lot of rumors and misconceptions are spread. So, the last thing we wanted was people going around saying, ‘I heard KOSL and Related were building a hotel on this site’ or something crazy like that. We wanted to make sure we have the right message out so we can address any questions neighbors or community members have.”
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