WHITE PLAINS – The developer of a proposed $150-million mixed-use project on property adjacent to the Saw Mill River Parkway in Dobbs Ferry told a gathering of Realtors who attended a recent meeting of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors Commercial Investment Division that his firm’s ambitious Rivertowns Square project could begin demolition work by year’s end.
The development, which will include Sundance Cinemas first theatre on the East Coast, is currently in the environmental review process with the Village of Dobbs Ferry.
Martin Berger, principal of Saber Real Estate Advisors of Armonk, was the guest speaker at the CID meeting on June 21 at the HGAR offices in White Plains.
Berger explained that in addition to the 32,500-square-foot, eight-screen Sundance Cinemas building, Rivertowns Square will feature a mix of restaurants, rental apartments, and retail. The development is behind the Chauncey Square Shopping Center, which is anchored by New York Sports Club.
Saber Real Estate Advisors recently submitted the Final Environmental Impact Statement under New York State’s SEQRA law to the village of Dobbs Ferry.
“We hope that we are through that process by August and then we will be working through site plan approvals,” Berger said. “So, we are hoping to do demolition at the end of the year. We are hoping to have occupants and occupancy in early 2014.”
Berger said that the Rivertowns region is underserved by retail and is located between the massive Ridge Hill retail development in Yonkers and The Westchester shopping mall in White Plains.
“You have small hamlets and villages with retail, but you don’t have anything (in the Rivertowns region) that has the quality of the retail experience that you can find in White Plains or at the Rye Ridge Shopping Center in Eastchester, or in Greenwich, CT,” he said.
Berger said that based on retail studies contracted by his firm, there is significant retail demand in the Rivertowns area and due to the shortage of retail options in the western side of Westchester County, many Rivertowns residents are leaving the area to shop elsewhere.
The design of the project will include some cobblestone streets to create “a village-type setting” similar to those in Bronxville or Scarsdale.
“We are trying to create a quality product and something that can’t be found on Central Avenue or something that is quite different from Ridge Hill,” Berger related
The residential component of the project will include 200 luxury rental one-and two-bedroom units. He reported that Saber Real Estate Advisors had sold a portion of the property to the Lincoln Property Company of Weston, MA, who will build and market the rental apartment component of the project.
Berger, told the nearly 40 attendees of the CID session that his firm was close to inking a sales agreement for a parcel on the more than 17-acre site to Hilton Hotels and Resorts to build a 123-room extended stay hotel as part of Rivertowns Square. He also revealed that his firm is close to signing a lease with a gourmet grocer for approximately 18,000 square feet.
Other lease signings to date at the development that will include a total of 130,000 square feet of retail space in multiple buildings, include leases with Chipolte Mexican Grill Inc., Anthony’s Cold Fired Pizza, and Chase Bank,
The developer is currently looking to secure leases with apparel and fashion retailers for spaces that range from 2,500 to 7,500 square feet. Berger said that rents are averaging in the mid $40s per square foot for space at Rivertowns Square. Common area maintenance and taxes are combined for approximately $7 per square foot.
The exclusive leasing agent for the property is Robert Greenstone, chairman and CEO of Greenstone Realty of New York City.
Part of the development cost will include several million dollars worth of road upgrades in and around the site off Exit 16—Lawrence Street of the Saw Mill River Parkway. He said that approximately 55,000 vehicles travel by the site on the Saw Mill River Parkway each day.
In March, Saber Real Estate announced that it had secured a lease with noted actor and director Robert Redford’s Sundance Cinemas of Los Angeles. Redford said of the deal, “I’m so pleased that Sundance Cinemas will be building our first theatre in the Northeast in such a vibrant corridor in the state of New York. Westchester County has a long and rich tradition of supporting the arts, which makes me particularly enthusiastic about our future in this community.”
Sundance Cinemas currently operates theatres in Madison, WI; San Francisco, CA; Houston TX and one under construction in West Hollywood, CA.
Berger said that his firm is in due diligence on a possible two new mixed-use developments in White Plains, as well as potential projects in Greenburgh and Poughkeepsie, as well as in New Milford, and Danbury, CT. He said that he is hopeful that his firm can provide updates on these potential projects in the coming months.
The company is currently in the approval process on a proposed power center project, the Riverhead Town Center in Riverhead, NY, which includes Dick’s Sporting Goods, Christmas Tree Shops, Aldi, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Starbucks.