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Developer wanted in Bronxville

Wanted in Bronxville: Developer to pick up a “shovel ready” condo project left on the drawing board by a bankrupt developer five years ago.

Village trustees in late June issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the development of the village’s downtown Kensington Road property. The new requirements for interested developers are much the same as the first RFP for the project issued nearly 10 years ago.

The property for decades was the home of the Lawrence Park Heat, Light and Power Co., according to Bronxville Mayor Mary C. Marvin. The village purchased it in 1986 with plans to develop its highest and best use, including public parking.

But the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in the last decade found that the power plant site had more than 22,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and would require a cleanup estimated at $7 million to $10 million. Marvin has said that substantial pre-construction cost steered away parking facility developers.

WCI Communities Inc. was awarded a contract by the village and received approvals for a 54-unit, 110,000-square-foot condominium development with a 200-space underground parking garage for municipal uses. The proposed development was expected to add an estimated $615,000 annually in property tax revenue.

After two years of planning and reviews for its Bronxville project, WCI Communities in 2008 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Marvin said the company had invested heavily in the Florida real estate market before it crashed.

The mayor in a news release said WCI’s land use approvals and the architectural and engineering drawings and specifications needed to obtain a building permit will be conveyed with the land to any new developer.

Interested developers also must abide by construction management measures agreed to by WCI Communities to protect nearby Christ Church, an environmental cleanup plan with DEC and construction and access agreements with Metro-North Railroad. The project is a short distance from the village train station.

Marvin indicated village officials want a new developer to stick with WCI’s plans to market the Kensington Road condos to empty nesters, “folks who want to downsize but still remain in the village.”  She said the development plan included improvements to the residential neighborhood with new sidewalks and curbing, plantings and underground utilities.

Marvin said the uptick in the real estate market “has generated robust interest in the property.” More than a dozen companies to date have expressed interest, she said.

The RFP is available at www.villageofbronxville.com under the “reports” section.

Developers have until Sept. 3 to submit proposals.

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As managing editor of the Business Journals, John Golden directs news coverage of Westchester and Fairfield counties and the Hudson Valley region. He was an award-winning upstate columnist and feature writer before joining the Business Journal in 2007. He is the author of “Northern Drift: Sketches on the New York Frontier,” a collection of his regional journalism.


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