Developer sees strong demand for WatermarkPointe on New Rochelle waterfront

Developer sees strong demand for WatermarkPointe on New Rochelle waterfront

Residents have been moving in to their new condominiums at WatermarkPointe in New Rochelle, even as construction continues at the 14.7-acre gated community on the site of the former Beckwith Pointe beach club.

“We are under construction on buildings six through nine,” Jerry Bermingham, executive vice president of development and acquisitions at developer National Realty & Development Corp., said during the Business Journal’s recent visit. “Buildings one through five are completed and completely sold out and we’ve been lucky enough to have strong demand.”

The project will have 72 units and Bermingham said that only 10 were still available.

Units that were listed on a Hudson Valley real estate website included two 2,717-square-foot units with three bedrooms, three full-baths and a half-bath. One was priced at $1.83 million and the other was priced at $2.28 million.

“The waterfront is the key feature in every facet here,” Bermingham said. “Not only do we have the three sides of water and the beach that you can utilize, but a pool and a clubhouse. People can walk along the waterfront but then also dig their toes into the sand, relax and listen to the seagulls and watch the water shining from the sunshine.”

New Rochelle, which has had a host of projects approved for its downtown, has been starting to focus on its waterfront. For example, a mixed-use commercial and residential building with 25,000 square feet of commercial space and 285 residential units was proposed for a site on the Echo Bay waterfront and East Main Street. Pratt Landing at 224 E. Main St. will have about 450 housing units, 100,000 square feet of retail and 100 to 200 hotel rooms along with a waterfront esplanade and 3 acres of open space.

Bermingham said that WatermarkPointe has been proving attractive for empty nesters who have sold their large suburban homes and are looking to downsize into residences with new recreational opportunities and fewer maintenance responsibilities. Buyers also include people looking for a change from the hectic lifestyle of Manhattan.

“It’s appealing to people coming out of the city who are used to paying exorbitant prices for upscale luxury living there and they’re comfortable with the amount of space, these units being 2,700 square feet and 2,400 square feet, two- and three-bedrooms with a large great room,” Bermingham said. “For an empty nester, coming down to this much square footage is good but for someone who’s used to, for the same price point, getting 1,000 square feet in the city; they’re able to double and triple their size.”

Custom kitchens are offered. The units in the elevator buildings feature high ceilings and layouts that eliminate common walls. The development is pet friendly and has an outdoor heated pool overlooking the beach as well as a fitness center in the community clubhouse. Each unit comes with two assigned indoor parking spaces.

National Realty & Development Corp. (NRDC) is headquartered in Purchase. The privately owned company has a 50-year track record in commercial real estate ownership and development. It has a portfolio of more than 22 million square feet of shopping centers, business centers and industrial/flex facilities. The company had considered downtown development in New Rochelle but was quick to focus on the Beckwith Pointe property at the southern tip of Davenport Neck when it became available.

“This is a peninsula with three sides of water, private beaches and a gated community 38 minutes from Manhattan so it kind of sells itself,” Bermingham said. “The architect had a vision and the developer had a vision where we wanted to be certain that every single unit has a waterfront view with a large glass wall looking out over a private terrace.”

Bermingham noted that the project incorporated environmental enhancements into its design. In addition to fulfilling requirements under the state environmental review process, the developer took into consideration the projected sea-level rise, reduced the amount of impervious surfaces and added new stormwater controls. The buildings are of steel and concrete construction.

NRDC originally wanted to build 140 units but scaled back the project during talks with New Rochelle to 72 units in nine four-story buildings plus a clubhouse.

While some segments of the Westchester luxury real estate market have been squeezed in recent months, WatermarkPointe managed to weather the economic storm.

“We’re very lucky to be a developer who is privately owned and has the kind of equity to withstand economic turmoil and without that, it would be more difficult but particularly the success here has been so strong and the sales have been so strong that it would have been viable under almost all circumstances,” Bermingham said.

The Watermark Pointe project had been given a price tag of $100 million when it was going through during the city’s approval process and Bermingham indicated that the final cost would likely be between $100 million and $130 million.

When asked whether NRDC is planning more waterfront development in Westchester, Bermingham said, “We can’t speak to anything, it’s private right now; however, we look forward to bringing more luxury product and that’s the venue we’re most comfortable in and best at. So, we hope to and believe we can continue to bring luxury marketplace products to Westchester and the general region.”

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