This week, the Bronxville Board of Trustees issued the request for proposals (RFP) for development of the Kensington Road property.
The uptick in the real estate market has generated robust interest in the property, and more than a dozen companies have expressed interest.
The property, off the tax rolls, has long been a visual eyesore, as well as having a contaminated underground, and the idea of finally getting a high quality development on the property will enhance not only the village landscape but increase surrounding property values.
The RFP is essentially the same document that was issued in 2003-2004. As history, in June of 2004, the village entered into a contract with WCI Communities Inc. to construct a residential condominium project including an underground parking garage having a minimum of 200 spaces to be used by the village for municipal purposes via a perpetual easement.
Over a period of two years, the previous developer obtained all required land use and board approvals from the village for construction of the project. The project’s architect has also advised the village that the required drawings and specifications for obtaining a building permit have also been prepared making this truly a “shovel ready” project.
Some of the land use board approvals from the village include an environmental findings statement, planning board site plan and planning board special permit approval.
In addition, the previous developer (who did file Chapter 11 due to heavy investment in the Florida real estate market in 2008), also entered into and/or negotiated agreements with third parties including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regarding environmental remediation on the site; MTA/Metro North regarding access, construction management, drainage and utility issues; the owners of the adjacent property (One Pondfield Road) modifying a pre-existing easement and providing for relocation of certain utility lines; and the United Water Co. regarding the replacement of an existing water main. The previous developer also committed to employ certain construction management measures to protect the property of Christ Church including particular precautions related to the church’s historic organ and stain glass windows. Proposers for this interation of the RFP will be required to provide such protections as well.
Though the contract was terminated with the previous developer, all the land use board approvals remain in place and will run with the land in the event the property is conveyed to a new developer. In addition, both the former project’s architect and the project engineering firm have agreed that their drawings and specifications may be used by a new developer upon entering into an agreement.
These pre-approvals, both in terms of time and expenses already incurred, are worth millions to the next potential developer.
Proposers responding to the newly released RFP will be required to provide a bond, letter of credit or equivalent form of security to ensure completion of the environmental remediation and the entire parking facility in a manner consistent for use and occupancy. In essence, in an absolute worst case scenario, the village will still have an environmentally pristine property and an underground parking facility.
Proposers must also provide the village with detailed information regarding their experience in completing a project of this type and scope as well as their financial ability to complete the project.
After much market research, the condominiums were designed to be marketed to the empty nester audience – folks who want to downsize but still remain in the village. The design schematics provided for formal dining rooms, few bedrooms and many staffing amenities. The previous developer also hired a professional demographer who estimated five to seven school age children would be added to our educational system. This number cannot be relegated to precision just as we cannot know the precise number of empty nesters who sell their homes each year, nor the number of children moving into complexes throughout the village in any given time frame.
In addition to a beautifully designed and landscaped building whose every inch was carefully vetted over a two year plus planning and review process, improvements to the adjacent homes in the form of new sidewalks, curbing, plantings and underground utilities are part of the final plan. The completed project will add approximately $650,000 yearly to the village coffers in the form of property taxes on a property currently generating none.
Proposers responding to our RFP have until Sept. 3, 2013, to express their interest so all selection activity will begin in the fall. Of course, if the proposals are not ultimately seen as in the best interest of the village, we have reserved the right to reject all proposals.