NEW ROCHELLE, NY — With 11 years remaining, the City of New Rochelle is considering an extension to a widely-reviled 30-year tax abatement granted 19 years ago to the developers of what was originally called “the Avalon”. The New Rochelle IDA will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, September 6th at 7:30 PM. Immediately after the hearing the New Rochelle IDA will act on a SEQRA Determination and Authorization for the owner of 255 Huguenot Street.
In exchange for approving its plan, the building owner is offering to open up what the City is calling a “gateway” to the downtown area from the Metro-North Train Station to Ruby Dee Park, constructing a second building on the parcel at 255 Huguenot Street with a road open to vehicular and pedestrian traffic running between the two buildings.
255 Huguenot Street was acquired by DSF Group last fall for $148.5 million. DSF Group is a real estate investment company based in Waltham, Massachusetts.
At the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency meeting on July 26, 2017, Josh Solomon, a DSF partner, made a presentation on the company’s proposal to subdivide the property at 255 Huguenot Street, remove the swimming pool and leasing office and put a roadway through the property which would be turned over to the City of New Rochelle.
City Manager Charles B. Strome said various inducements would be offered, based on recommendations from NDC, the City’s development consultant, including a sales tax abatement and what is sure to be a highly controversial extension of the infamous 30-year tax abatement granted by the City in 1998. The current deal would not involve the construction of a new building in the area between “the Avalon” and 270 North Avenue (“the Chase Bank building”). In his remarks, Strome appeared to anticipate criticism for more tax-payer funded giveaways to developers.
Strome told the IDA Board that he had met with Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne about the proposal. The District has not gotten any revenue from 255 Huguenot Street since the tax abatement was granted. Due to a shady calculation of the projected number of students predicted to reside in the two Avalon buildings, more than double the number of projected students have actually resided in them, costing the school district millions of dollars annually in unfunded education costs.
Initially known as “the Avalon building” and later referred to as “Avalon 1” or “Avalon-on-the-Sound I” (when a second building went up a block away) the building is a 25-story luxury apartment building. It was acquired from Avalon in 2010 for $107.5 million and renamed La Rochelle. According to a press release issued at the time, the property contains “412 units, 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, a 422-space parking garage and the rights for development of an additional 40-story residential tower”.
DSF had previously acquired Avalon 2, the awkwardly-named, 39-story, Halstead New Rochelle Metro North, for $210 million in 2013.
A fun fact about Josh Solomon is that he is the owner of the Hartford (Connecticut ) Yard Goats, the Colorado Rockies AA Affiliate.