There’s been a slight change in plans for the second phase of one of White Plains’ most significant downtown apartment developments, The Continuum. The change would bring more units with smaller footprints.
The city is reviewing plans from Pennsylvania-based property developer LCOR Inc. that would add 36 apartments to the second-phase tower of the Continuum, the more than 500-unit apartment development at 55 Bank St. near the White Plains train station.
The first part of the estimated $250 million project — a 16-story tower with 288 apartments — started leasing in late 2017 before celebrating a grand opening this spring. The phase one tower is about 80 percent leased, the development team told the planning board in October.
The amended plans for the second tower, the project’s architect said at the October meeting, are driven by changes in market demand the building’s leasing team observed after opening the first tower.
“There was a little bit of feedback that the units were too big and they weren’t at the right price point,” said Paul Albano, a partner at Manhattan-based SLCE Architects. “We looked at trying to make it a little more efficient.”
The developer is seeking an amendment to a site plan the city first approved in 2009 for the property. The new plan increases the apartment unit total on the second tower by 36 to reach 309. The first building, on the north side of the property, contains 288 units.
While the towers were initially approved to be the same height, the new plan for the 16-story south tower raises its height about 10 feet and decreases the building width by about 6 feet. With the changes, the square footage for the property actually decreased by about 200 square feet, the development team told the planning board, to about 320,000 square feet.
William Null, an attorney representing LCOR, said the changes give the Continuum “a better mix by having the north tower and south tower not be identical.”
“When people come to look for places to live, we’ll have a greater variety of options for them,” Null told the planning board.
In the first tower, studios range from 523 to 587 square feet and are priced between $2,120 and $2,380 per month, the Business Journal reported at the building’s opening. One-bedrooms range in size from 710 to 732 square feet with monthly rents ranging from $2,680 to $3,020, and two-bedroom residences, ranging from 1,184 to 1,256 square feet, are priced from $3,845 to $4,220 per month.
Albano said the change in the second tower would allow LCOR to introduce a new unit type for the property, which he described as a junior one-bedroom. They’d be similar to studios, he said, but with an alcove area.
LCOR has also requested a waiver from the city to forgo the additional 36 parking spaces required for the added units. Null said the developer’s traffic study has indicated the spaces aren’t needed, but they could later be added if the city decides otherwise.
The plan will require final approval from the city’s common council.
The Continuum represents one of White Plains’ longest-running major development projects, dating back to pre-recession times in the city.
LCOR bought the property, previously a municipal parking lot, from the city for $15.5 million in 2007, with plans to build apartments. But the project stalled following the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008 and subsequent recession. LCOR’s previous financial partner, Lehman Brothers, went bankrupt in 2008.
The project languished until 2015, when LCOR announced it had received an $80 million construction loan from Wells Fargo and had replaced the Lehman Brothers financial partnership with one with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. The developer also received tax incentives from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency.
LCOR broke ground on the first tower in November 2015 and welcomed the first residents three years later. The apartments have been warmly received in a city that is trying to bring more residential life to the area near its train station.
Last year, the city published a request for expressions of interest for three city-owned properties, along with a parcel owned by the city’s Urban Renewal Agency, near its train station. The city is seeking a private partner to develop the land in a way that fits with a mixed-use residential vision White Plains officials established through a million-dollar state planning grant.