“A good, beautiful replacement for that pit, huh?” Michael Sabatino, majority leader on the Yonkers City Council asked rhetorically as he joined with Mayor Mike Spano, other city officials, Randy Salvatore of RMS Cos. and invited guests for a May 21 ribbon-cutting to open Salvatore’s new apartment building at 1077 Warburton Ave. The building, Stratus on Hudson, is on a site previously referred to as “the hole in the ground,” as well as being called “the pit.”
Efforts to develop the site dating from the early 2000s were unsuccessful due to a variety of problems such as bankruptcy, foreclosure, landslides and lawsuits.
“This had become iconic in the fact that everyone knew it as ‘the hole in the ground,’” Spano said. “But it was more than just ‘the hole in the ground.’ It was iconic in the sense that it was representative of broken promises of the past – the city’s inability to get out of its own way and the city’s inability to attract good solid development in an area in a city that had so much promise.”
Salvatore, who is president and CEO of RMS Cos. and has been active in Connecticut development for more than two decades, told the Business Journal, “When I came over to the site for the first time and looked at the views across the river, I said, ‘This is a site we have to find a way to develop,’ and that was about a year and a half ago.”
RMS has amassed a portfolio of properties covering various Connecticut communities. Examples include: Mayfair Square, a townhome community in Danbury; Simeon Village, rental apartments in Bethel; The Verano, The Moderne, The Blvd and 100 Prospect, luxury rental apartments in Stamford; and The Phoenix on Isaac, a condominium development in Norwalk.
“We do a lot of hospitality projects,” Salvatore said. “We just opened up The Blake Hotel in New Haven with a Michelin-starred restaurant. About a year or a year and a half ago we finished the dorms for UConn in Stamford, which has been a success. So, each one is different and exciting in its own way.”
Stratus on Hudson contains 74 apartments, more than half of which have views of the Hudson River. Between the building and the river are the Metro-North train tracks, with the Greystone station a short walk away. The building has nine floors and includes covered parking, a fitness center, resident lounges, a dog spa, a roof deck and various home automation systems. One-bedroom apartments start at $2,500 per month. Two-bedroom, two-bath apartments start at $3,750 per month.
Salvatore said geographic expansion is on the horizon for his company.
“We have a project in New Jersey that we’re going to be starting in the next few months and we’re looking up in the Massachusetts area and still are very bullish of Connecticut. We have a number of things in the works and under construction right now in Connecticut.”
When asked for his reaction to his first development experience in Westchester, Salvatore said, “I’d love to continue to develop, whether it’s in Yonkers or other areas of Westchester.”
Salvatore said incentives offered by the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency (IDA) can make a difference in a project.
“All development in some way becomes a public-private partnership between the developer who’s investing money and the city that’s committing resources and other things, and I think Yonkers has got it right.” As for the private side of financing, “I think financing is always available,” Salvatore told the Business Journal. “If you have a sound track record and if you do what you say you’re going to do, you maintain those financial relationships and the banks continue to lend as long as the project is a viable, sound project.”