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Real Estate

Kensington Road Garage Opens to Merchants, Resident Commuters, and the Public PDF Print Email

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By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter                      


Oct. 4, 2017:  Almost three years to the day after excavation began on the site of Villa BXV and the Kensington Road garage, the upper level of the garage is open for parking, and the first of the north building's units have been inspected and issued certificates of occupancy.

Village Administrator Jim Palmer reports that, according to the construction agreement between the village and Gateway Development Group, Inc., the developer, 203 parking spaces on the garage's upper and lower levels are allocated to the village. To date, he said, 55 of those spaces have been designated for merchants, 55 for resident commuter permit holders, 30 for the public, all on the upper level, and 63 spaces for 24-hour resident permit holders on the lower level. Parking space allocation between merchants and residents will be somewhat fluid, he said, based on demand.

"The garage's public spaces are already freeing up spaces in the Garden Avenue lot," Palmer said, "and the feedback from merchants about that is positive." He anticipates that more commuter spaces will begin to be available in the Kraft Avenue lot.

Parking spaces on the lower level for 24-hour resident permit holders will come online over the winter. These permit holders were displaced from the lower Kensington parking lot when excavation for Villa BXV began. They were relocated to on-street parking for the duration of construction. Palmer noted that contractors are still using the lower level, so, for the time being, it is somewhat of a construction area.



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Palmer estimates that the garage, when in full operation, will generate approximately $285,000 in revenues annually. He reported that the maintenance agreement for the garage, which stipulates responsibilities between the village and what will become the homeowners' association, was finalized last week.

Surveillance cameras have been installed, which allow the Bronxville Police Department to monitor the garage 24 hours a day. The garage will not be locked overnight.

Most of the residential units on the north wing's first and second floors have received final inspections. Several first-floor units have been issued certificates of occupancy and could close the week of October 9. Palmer anticipates that certificates of occupancy for some second-floor units could be issued the week of October 9.

Units in the south wing, where construction crews are still working on unit interiors, should be ready for inspection and occupancy over the course of the winter.

Based on the village assessor's early estimates, the full market value of the Villa BXV property stands at $47.5 million, which translates to approximately $746,000 in village and school property taxes. Palmer stated that the assessor would revalue the property in January of 2018.

The last phase of construction, which the village is still finalizing, includes the resurfacing of Kensington Road, new curbing and sidewalks on the east side of the street, and new parking to be installed on both sides of the street.

Pictured here: Top: Villa BXV; in text: entrance to the garage on Kensington Road.

Photos by N. Bower

 
Priscilla Toomey: Avoiding Dangerous Assumptions in Real Estate: Part I PDF Print Email

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By Priscilla R. Toomey, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty


Sep. 27, 2017:  Often real estate consumers, be they sellers or buyers, make assumptions that may seem innocuous at the time but end up creating a problem at the very moment their transaction needs to move forward. That one item may cause the transaction to fall apart or may cause enough of a delay that it seriously jeopardizes the plans of the seller, buyer, or both.

In the first article in this series, we will look at five dangerous assumptions that can be made putting a home on the market or seriously looking to buy a home and how to avoid them. In the second article, we will look at another five dangerous assumptions that crop up once a house is on the market or a buyer is ready to commit to a purchase. In the third article, we will look at yet another five dangerous assumptions that can arise once an offer has been received and can cause the transaction to go awry.

Five early-stage dangerous assumptions to avoid:

Dangerous Assumption #1:  People can look past the clutter. Most can't. For photos and showings, be aware that most buyers simply can't see past your stuff and really want to see a place that looks like the photos they've seen in shelter magazines. If you're a buyer, try to focus on the bones of the house--they are what you're buying, not the furnishings the seller will take to their new home.

Dangerous Assumption #2:  I'm not in a hurry. Unless you have decided that you are in a purely educational mode, this assumption is dangerous because markets tend to be cyclical and may be very different when you are ready. And what if you see something perfect for you--or a buyer comes along--when you think you're just testing the waters? You may be unprepared to do anything about that perfect house because you kidded yourself into thinking you were just browsing. Be realistic about your time frame and proceed accordingly.

Dangerous Assumption #3:  I know my financial profile. Do you really? Do you have a pre-approval? How much do you have in liquid assets? If you find yourself in a bidding war, how much cash do you have to put into your offer? Have you estimated your closing costs? How much can you afford in taxes? How much would you have left after a purchase for any renovations you want to make? Do you have all your financial documents in order? Do you know your current credit score? Have you recently changed jobs and perhaps unwittingly changed what your profile looks like to a lender, co-op board, or others?

Dangerous Assumption #4:  I know my local market. Markets change. People often assume that just because another house nearby did well in its sale, theirs will too. But every house is unique and perhaps the other house is in the middle of the block and yours is close to a highway and its attendant noise. Or all of their windows are new and all of yours are old and in need of replacement. Some things make a lot more difference to buyers than others--don't assume you know what they are without guidance from an expert.

Dangerous Assumption #5:  It's cheap--it must be a bargain. Homes are hardly ever priced at random, without taking into account many factors. If it looks too good to be true, that's probably the case. Do you have enough patience for the wait and enough cash for the renovations once you own the house? Are you prepared for renovations that take twice as long and cost twice as much as first anticipated, as is the case many times?

Carefully thinking through where you stand with these five assumptions can save you a lot of agony later on.

Pictured here:  Priscilla Toomey, licensed associate real estate broker, JD, ABR, Top5, certified EcoBroker, SRES with Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty, 2 Park Place, Bronxville, NY 10708; cell, 914-559-8084; email, CLOAKING .

Photo courtesy Julia B. Fee/Sotheby's International Realty

 
Approximately 100 New Public Parking Spaces to Open on Kensington Road by End of Summer PDF Print Email

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By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter

Jul. 19, 2017:  Village Administrator Jim Palmer said that he expects approximately 100 new parking spaces earmarked for public use in the Villa BXV project on Kensington Road to be available for use by the end of the summer. The timing, he noted, is dependent on Gateway Development Group’s completion of the residential complex.

“Gateway is moving full speed,” Palmer said, “and they will be working on sealing the garage floor and striping the parking stalls in the coming weeks.” When the parking garage is fully online, close to 200 parking spaces will be dedicated to village and public use.


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Also dependent on the timing of Villa BXV’s completion will be Gateway’s installation of new curbing and a sidewalk on the east side of Kensington Road. New curbs will extend from Sagamore Road to Beechtree Lane. Gateway will also repave Kensington Road upon full completion of construction work.

As construction work winds down, Palmer said, “Everyone can look for continued improvement work at the intersection of Kensington Road and Sagamore Road in conjunction with the anticipated opening of the parking garage.”

The board of trustees authorized the hiring of a consultant to assist the village with pedestrian and traffic improvements in the Villa BXV area. Palmer noted that roadway width will be reconfigured, a raised island near the Kensington/Sagamore intersection will be installed, and area crosswalks will be relocated.

The Bronxville DPW is also completing other roadwork in the village during the summer. Palmer Avenue and Parkway Road have been restriped, and Kraft Avenue will be restriped over the summer. 

“We are certainly taking advantage of reduced traffic flow in the village to complete these projects and maximizing the summer help we have,” Palmer said. 

Other village projects include sanitary sewer relining along Pondfield Road from Route 22 to Meadow Avenue, installing a fence around the community garden perimeter at village hall, and opening the tennis court with the backboard for use.

Pictured here:  Villa BXV garage construction site.

Photos by N. Bower

 




 
Diane Hackett: Update on High-End Real Estate Market in Bronxville Village PDF Print Email

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By Diane Hackett, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Houlihan Lawrence


Jul. 12, 2017:  Real estate agents for Houlihan Lawrence from Bronxville, Larchmont, Pelham, and Rye offices assembled for lunch and market talk with its president, Chris Meyers, on June 8 at the new construction property at 15 Hamilton Avenue in the village. 

The topic of discussion was that the lower Westchester County luxury ($2 million+) markets are having a strong second quarter performance, with a 16% increase in homes sold year-to-date. 

In the one square mile of Bronxville Village, there are 31 active homes on the market, another 14 homes under contract, and another 16 homes that have sold in the $2 million+ price range.  

Seven of the houses sold to date range between $3 million and $5.1 million. The average price per square foot is $709. The oldest of these homes was built in 1890, and youngest was built in 1930. Most need entire renovations.

Value continues to be the number-one motivator for buyers. The new construction here in the village offers just that. Currently under contract are 30 Masterton Road, listed at $702.01 per square foot and 50 Masterton Road, listed at $555.47 per square foot. 

Nearing completion, the new home at 15 Hamilton is listed at $686.25 per square foot, with 6,776 square feet of living space. It is being built with state-of-the-art technology and the highest-quality finishes. No need for construction headaches post-closing. 

Pictured here:  High-end home with brokers from Houlihan Lawrence standing in front.  

Photo by Robert Shaw

 
Tuckahoe Hopeful for August 2018 Completion of Marriott Hotel; Site Contamination Concerns Remain PDF Print Email

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By Carol P. Bartold, Senior Reporter


Jul. 5, 2017:  If all goes well with construction, said Tuckahoe Mayor Steve Ecklond, the Marriott Springhill Suites hotel at 109-125 Marbledale Road should be finished by August of 2018. Approved on a 3-2 vote by the Tuckahoe Planning Board in October of 2016, the project has raised concerns in Tuckahoe as well as Bronxville because the hotel will sit on the site of an abandoned marble quarry that was used as a commercial landfill dump.

The $31 million, 91,000-square-foot-project will contain a 163-room hotel, a 6,400-square-foot restaurant, and 208 parking spaces. According to Ecklond, the hotel could generate as much as $150,000 in room tax revenue annually for the village. "Room tax is real money that can be used to purchase an asset," Ecklond said. "This is cash coming in that can be devoted to infrastructure."

Construction on the hotel is progressing and, according to Ecklond, drilling work for pilings that will support the building is over half completed. Upon completion, steel for the building will be erected.

"The goal is to have the entire building up, with the roof, by late fall," Ecklond said. That will allow interior work to proceed when winter weather sets in.

Because the construction site was designated as a Brownfield site, any redevelopment or reuse of the property could be complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous contaminants in soil and groundwater.

"The fear is that the pile driving will smash up more toxins," said Bronxville resident Betsy Harding. "The water used to create the pressure for the pile driving will become contaminated." She added that there is disagreement about where that contaminated water will go. Harding and other residents have expressed concern that the water will migrate to Bronxville.

Ecklond noted that all remedial cleanup work on the site is complete. The site will be capped with cement, asphalt, and topsoil.


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Because of concerns that toxins could migrate to Bronxville, the Bronxville Board of Trustees has hired a consultant to review site reports and data from soil and groundwater tests conducted at The Bronxville School campus.

A group of concerned Tuckahoe residents filed an Article 78 petition in November of 2016 against the planning board, building inspector, New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health, and Bilwin Development Affiliates LLC seeking a preliminary injunction to halt remediation efforts on the site. The petition also sought to annul the site plan approval and the negative state environmental quality review act (SEQRA) declaration. New York State Supreme Court Judge Larry J. Schwartz denied the petition in May of 2017 and a final ruling is pending.

The Marbledale Road Environmental Coalition gathered over 2,700 signatures in 2016 on an online petition calling for the full environmental review of the hotel project that the negative SEQRA declaration deemed unnecessary.

Bronxville resident Gretchen Pingel has requested sewer maps to determine if Tuckahoe and Bronxville wastewater systems are connected. Any contaminated groundwater or storm water run-off that might enter the Bronxville sewer system, she noted, could ultimately seep through soil and house foundations. "And of course," she said, "if contaminated water is released into the Bronx River, it will negatively impact the fragile river ecosystem."

Pictured here:  The construction site for the Marriott Hotel site in Tuckahoe. 

Photos by N. Bower

 
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