The White Plains Examiner

Harrison Office Parks Could Become Residential Rentals

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At the October meeting of the Harrison Town Board representatives of Normandy Real Estate Partners, owners of 1.5 million square feet in about 15 buildings along the I-287 corridor in White Plains and Harrison, presented an unprecedented residential development plan for two combined sites located at 103 and 105 Corporate Park Drive, Harrison.

Currently a Special Business District zone located in the “Tear Drop” area off of I-287, near West Red Oak Lane and the new Lifetime Fitness center, the proposal calls for a six-story multi-family rental development.

Citing the recent Master Plan update for Harrison, which identified the area as potential for multi-use development, the developer’s representative, said the two office buildings currently on the site were built in the 1960s and had not been repaired and maintained over the past 20 years. “One building is vacant and the other is almost empty. They are both in bad shape,” he said.

The result is a 200,000 square-foot vacancy.

The developer is asking for a zoning change and requested the Town Board refer the matter to the Harrison Planning Board.

The proposed site plan calls for 421 rental units positioned with staggered elevations. A central structure would hold 700 cars, leaving no large outdoor parking areas and creating a roadway around the development similar to a residential street.

Referring to the recent entrance of medical and pharmaceutical businesses into the Westchester area, the developer explained that the type of employees attracted to the job openings in these companies were of a somewhat transient nature. “They consider five years a long time to be at one job,” he explained. “They are highly paid, looking for high-end housing and want to live near where they work.”

The result is the development of a 24-hour mixed-use community, where employees can easily come and go from their work and their homes at any time of the day.

The developer talked about the high-tech lab employee who sets up an experiment and then goes home for several hours before checking back on the results.

To this end, the available apartments would be studios, one and two-bedroom units of 700 to 1,300 square feet.

Sullivan Architects, based in White Plains was hired to do the design work. John Sullivan called the project an “opportunity.”

“There is room for a restaurant on-site as well as the possibility of walkways and bike paths to provide linkages between other properties in the area,” Sullivan said.

The Harrison Board was generally receptive to the idea, concerned about possible traffic issues, especially back-ups onto Anderson Hill Road during peak hours, but felt the proposed design was part of a long-range trend.

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