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December 24, 2014
SunCal Buys NY Hudson Riverfront Site for 1,177 Homes
By John Gittelsohn, Bloomberg - Dec 24, 2014

SunCal, a closely held developer of master-planned communities, bought a site on the Hudson River north of New York City to build properties including 1,177 residences and a hotel.

SunCal expects to break ground next year at the former General Motors assembly plant in Sleepy Hollow, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of New York City, and open the first residences in 2017, said Frank Cappello, president of the company's eastern region. The purchase was completed yesterday in New York, he said.

"Westchester County is so supply-constrained that this is a very unique opportunity to develop anything of scale," Cappello said in a telephone interview. "We've been targeting real estate where it's not hard to predict that people want to live there, but it's hard to create the homes and other uses."

The land, a 97-acre (39-hectare) parcel SunCal is developing with Diversified Realty Advisors, sold for $39.5 million, according to a person with knowledge of the deal, who asked not to be named because the terms aren't public yet. Cappello declined to discuss the price. Bill Grotz, a General Motors spokesman who confirmed the property was sold, also declined to discuss details of the transaction.

"We support the redevelopment of former GM sites and are pleased with the positive outcome achieved in Sleepy Hollow," Grotz said in an e-mailed statement.

Housing Mix

The Sleepy Hollow housing will be apartments, condominiums and townhouses, according to Cappello. The hotel will have 140 rooms. The development, between the Metro-North Hudson Line railroad tracks and the river, will have 135,000 square feet (12,500 square meters) of retail space and 35,000 square feet of offices, he said.

"It strikes every hot button that a developer would want," Jonathan Stein, managing partner of Summit, New Jersey-based Diversified Realty Advisors, said in a telephone interview, citing the site's proximity to the rail line, the Hudson River and New York City. Stein he's been working to buy and develop the site since 1999, a process delayed by a public-review process, lawsuits between government agencies and the financial crisis.

In the area that includes Westchester, the median sale price of an existing single-family home was $489,000 in the third quarter, up 1.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors.

SunCal, based in Irvine, California, acquires and develops major residential properties and commercial developments. It has communities under development in California, Georgia, Nevada, Texas and Virginia.

Sleepy Hollow was the setting of stories by author Washington Irving, who wrote in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," published in 1820: "The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots and twilight superstitions."