Northeast Real Estate Business

NOV-DEC 2015

Northeast Real Estate Business magazine covers the multifamily, retail, office, healthcare, industrial and hospitality sectors in the Northeast United States.

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www.REBusinessOnline.com Northeast Real Estate Business • November/December 2015 • 41 WinnCompanies partnered with the Albany Hous- ing Authority to transform a Depression-era public school into Livingston School Apartments, a mixed- income, 103-unit housing community for seniors and people with disabilities in Albany, New York. The school was created to teach vocational skills to the unemployed and served as a public school un- til 2009. After sourcing the building, which became vacant in 2009, with local Albany brokers, Winn- Development, a WinnCompanies company, began its adaptive reuse of the property in January 2014. The development team is experienced with his- torical renovations and conversions; this is the 28th adaptive reuse project completed by the WinnCompanies. The team took a historically sen- sitive approach to the renovation of the four-story, 230,000-square-foot building by converting class- rooms into apartment homes and former adminis- trative offce space and a two-story library into ame- nity areas for the residents. The end result comprises 12 studio apartments, 76 one-bedroom apartments and 15 two-bedroom apartments, all outftted with Energy Star appliances and fxtures. Additionally, 11 units are handicapped accessible and fve apart- ments are equipped for the hearing or visually im- paired. Community amenities match the residents' needs as the building features a resident lounge with a community kitchen and entertainment space, a ft- ness room, a library and computer center, wellness center for visiting practitioners, soft seating areas, common laundries and outdoor space. Since the building was well maintained during its vacancy, the structure's interior design gave the design team great space to work without signif- cant design challenges. The Architectural Team, the project's architect, and Keith Construction, general contractor, used the existing space and architectural structures to provide apartments and amenity space fooded with natural light through the building's massive windows. "Because the building was an active school for roughly 80 years, there are many residents of Al- bany who attended it," says Adam Stein, senior vice president of Boston-based WinnDevelopment. "There is a sense of community pride in seeing this magnifcent structure returning to service as an as- set to the neighborhood and city." Also notable about the building is its location ad- jacent to the Tivoli Lake Preserve, an 80-acre urban nature preserve established in 1975. With the rebirth of the Livingston School building, city offcials and civic leaders are exploring the opportunity to use the property as a gateway that would increase pub- lic access to the preserve, notes Stein. The park is the largest natural area in Albany and the second largest urban nature park in New York, after Central Park in New York City. The property reached full occupancy within two months of launching leasing efforts, and serves resi- dents 55 or older that earn between 50 and 90 per- cent of the area median income for Albany. Managed by WinnResidential, the property re- ceived public sector support from the City of Alba- ny, the Albany Industrial Development Agency, the Albany Community Development Agency, the New York State Division of Housing and Community Re- newal, the New York State Energy Research and De- velopment Authority, the New York State Historic Preservation Offce, and the United States National Park Service. The property received private fnancing from Key- Bank, Citizens Bank, Boston Financial, The Commu- nity Preservation Corp. and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. Financing included Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, Federal Historic Tax Credits, State Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and State Historic Tax Credits all of which were syndicated by Boston Financial and purchased by KeyBank and Citizens Bank. New York City-based Vanbarton Group has teamed up with Metro Loft Management to convert 180 Water Street, an offce building in Manhattan's Financial District, into a luxury rental apartment property. Built in 1970, the 25-story, 500,000-square-foot property will be transformed into a 29-story, 565-unit Class A apartment building. When the Vanbarton Group acquired the building in 2013, it was fully occupied by New York City's Human Resource Administration, which relocated to 4 World Trade Center this spring. Prior to the ten- ant leaving, construction plans were completed and $240 million in fnancing was in place so construction could begin as soon as the building was vacant. "Over the past decade, the Financial District of Manhattan has experienced a strong increase in de- mand for residential product, which has caused residential rent growth to signifcantly outpace offce rent growth," explains Bill Bond, managing director with Vanbarton Group. "At the same time, there was a large supply of obsolete offce product available." 180 Water Street is an ideal conversion for a variety of reasons, including its views of the East River and bridges, wide open foor plans, central location and single vacating tenant, notes Bond. Expected to take approximately two years for completion, with deliveries beginning in fall 2016 and completion slated for early 2017, the redeveloped 180 Water Street will feature 565 luxury studio to three- bedroom units and 10,000 square feet of street-level high-end service and food retail space, which will cater to the surrounding day-time offce population and the residents of 180 Water Street. With fnishes and amenities a cut above the competition in downtown Manhattan, the completed property will feature a 24/7 concierge service, doormen, valet services and public outdoor space, as well as bike and tenant storage. The conversion of 180 Water Street involves the demolition and replacement of all building compo- nents except for the primary steel and concrete structure, which is being modifed. Additionally, an interior courtyard is being created to maximize light into the interior areas of the residential units. In addition to the interior conversion, the project team is adding four foors to the building to take ad- vantage of the property's views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. Made possible by transferring demolished square footage from the interior courtyard to the roof space, the roof-top addition will include most of the building's amenities, including a terrace, sundeck, pool, lawn, gym, yoga room, lounge and private dining room. "With all adaptive reuse projects, there are challenges because you are converting the buildings from their original intended use," says Bond. "However, partnering with a seasoned conversion expert, like Metro Loft, has limited the number of surprises." Metro Loft has completed numerous offce to residential conversions in Lower Manhattan including 443 Greenwich, 20 Exchange, and 116 John among others. Capital One provided the $180 million frst mortgage, while Brookfeld Asset Management supplied $60 million in mezzanine fnancing. Participating lenders in the syndication include the CIT Group and Santander Bank, a joint lead arranger. Livingston School Apartments WinnDevelopment has transformed the former Livingston School in Albany, New York, into a 103-unit housing community for seniors and people with disabilities. 180 Water Street Formerly a 25-story, 500,000-square-foot offce building, 180 Water Street in Manhattan will be converted to a 29-story, 565-unit apartment property.

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