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October 16, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Avon sells Rye property for $23.1 million

The front entrance of the former Avon Products building in Rye. Photo by Bob Rozycki

Avon Capital Corp., the domestic real estate and financing vehicle for cosmetics giant Avon Products Inc. and its subsidiaries, has sold the company’s property at 601 and 621 Midland Ave. in Rye for $23.1 million. The sprawling 176,000-square-foot facility is on 18.13 acres of land and had been housing Avon’s data center and related operations.

The property was bought by Midland Rye LLC, a vehicle of real estate firm George Comfort & Sons, the Feil Organization, a New York City-based real estate investment, development and management firm, and O’Connor Capital Partners. Midland Rye LLC uses the same Manhattan address as does George Comfort & Sons.

Comfort manages more than 12 million square feet of commercial property and has ownership interests in about 75% of the portfolio. It has branches in Stamford, Purchase, Washington, D.C., Princeton, New Jersey, and Beverly Hills, California.

PCSB Bank, headquartered in Yorktown Heights, provided a $14.75 million mortgage, according to records at the Westchester County Clerk’s Office.

The former Avon property is next to the Metro-North Railroad station and within walking distance of Rye’s downtown area. It is near both I-95 and I-287. The commercial real estate advisory firm Newmark Knight Frank (NKF) secured the buyer as well as working on behalf of the seller.

The side of the building extends back to the Metro-North Railroad tracks. Photo by Bob Rozycki

Kevin Welsh, executive managing director at NKF, described the property as “a unique multifunctional property that is well positioned to capture a broad base of tenant demand as they reposition or redevelop the asset.”

He also praised the location, saying, “Midland Avenue garnered substantial interest from investors, users and developers due to its unmatched transit-centric location and superior access to knowledge workers in one of Westchester’s most prestigious communities.”

Peter S. Duncan, CEO of George Comfort & Sons, said, “601 and 621 Midland Avenue represented an attractive opportunity to grow our Westchester holdings with a high-quality asset that benefits from a convenient location in one of our largest markets.”

Comfort has an office park at 1100 King St. in Rye Brook, formerly known as Royal Executive Office Park. It’s a six-building Class A office park directly off the Hutchinson River Parkway with 560,000 square feet of space on 45 acres. Another property is The Centre at Purchase, consisting of one 3-story and three 4-story office buildings on 43 acres with 676,490 square feet of space. Its 900 King St. property is a 215,000-square-foot office building.

The front entrance of the former Avon Products headquarters in Rye. Photo by Bob Rozycki

“With 4.7 million square feet in our Westchester and Fairfield portfolio, including two development projects in Westchester County, we are optimistic about the future of these submarkets,” Duncan said.

In Stamford, the company has a 414,200-square-foot office tower at 677 Washington Blvd. It also owns the former Harbor Plaza, now known as Shippan Landing, which is a 780,000-square-foot office complex on 17.9 acres overlooking the harbor, as well as the High Ridge Office Park offering 572,823 square feet of space.

In 2011, Avon received tax breaks from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) with respect to the Rye property. At the time, the Business Journal reported that Avon had pledged to retain 668 jobs and spend $17.7 million on renovations if the Westchester County IDA granted tax abatements for 15 years. Benefits with a value of $4,906,974 were granted. In 2016, Avon asked the IDA for an amended agreement lowering the job-retention requirement to between 450 and 500 jobs. At that time, the company’s chief financial officer told the IDA that Avon would be a “presence in Westchester for the foreseeable future,” which he defined as three to five years, according to what the Business Journal reported.