DDeveloper Alan Weissman appears to have done exactly what marketing and business development gurus insist entrepreneurs need to do to be successful: “Find a need and fill it. “
Its St. Regis Residences project at 120 Old Post Road in Rye welcomed its first residents, with Marriott International Inc., owner of the St Regis brand, who began to manage the luxury property.
Buyers had moved into the first dozen units by early August.
“We have completed the first two parts of the five-part project,” Weissman told the Business Journal. “The amenity space is now 100% complete and one of our residential buildings is also completely finished at this point and the next three buildings will be completed within the next few months, so we are really at the end of the project. . “
The St. Regis Residences complex will have 92 condominium units, ranging from one to four bedrooms. It is designed to meet a need for all the comforts, conveniences and luxuries that a resident could desire, as evidenced by the St. Regis brand which has been developed since John Jacob Astor IV opened the St. Regis in New York in 1903, which he built when he co-owned the Waldorf-Astoria.
The St. Regis brand is owned by Marriott International Inc., which has 30 brands, including Ritz-Carlton, Le Méridien and Sheraton. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, at the end of 2020 it had 2,149 company-owned properties and 5,493 franchised and licensed properties around the world.
The company’s operations have been affected by Covid and for 2020, its revenue was $ 10.57 billion compared to $ 20.97 billion the previous year.
The Bethesda, MD-based company has been active in the branded home business, working with real estate developers like Weissman to create projects in locations that reflect the quality of its brands, and then managing those properties. St. Regis Residences, Rye, will have a project cost of more than $ 100 million, according to Weissman.
“When the pandemic first hit we were very concerned, but to our surprise the sales… have been incredible. We have achieved some of the highest selling prices per square foot in the market and we are currently 80% sold and we haven’t even finished construction, so these are all pre-sales and it’s absolutely spectacular in terms of our sales on the project, ”Weissman said.
Weissman said just as Covid-19 affects virtually every business, it also affects the St. Regis Project.
“Timing is always an issue in construction, but with shortages of materials, shortages of labor and stuff and, of course, the pandemic itself, there have been some delays in the project but we were successful and we are managing, “Weissman mentioned.
“In the next few months, we will be 100% complete. Most of the 80% who bought here bought on the plans. They bought first from a sales center, an on-site sales center, and then a sales center in Rye town, downtown Rye.
Weissman expressed particular pride in the St. Regis Project, noting that Harrison-based company Alfred Weissman Real Estate LLC, founded by his father about 50 years ago, has been involved in a variety of projects in which he called “different real estate food groups,” including hotels, office buildings, commercial spaces and residences.
“This is the first self-contained St. Regis in the world that is not connected to a hotel. Everyone else before that, going back to John Jacob Astor in New York with the St. Regis, has always been linked to a hotel, ”Weissman said. “So that’s really unusual and we kind of made up the whole concept here in Rye for the St. Regis brand and I know the upper levels at Marriott are very excited about what we’re doing here. “
Weissman observed that there is a market for a wide variety of housing types in Westchester, whether it is affordable housing, middle income projects or luxury.
“It’s a luxury project. It is not affordable for most people. It’s a very, very high-end project, ”Weissman said. “What makes it quite important to the community is that a lot of the people who live here are business leaders, community leaders, who would otherwise leave the area and go elsewhere.
“Now they have time to give back to the community. They are involved in their local charities, in their religious institutions and things like that. They are downsizing, nice homes in the immediate vicinity of Westchester, Fairfield County, but usually they move to NYC, move to Florida and don’t really settle here anymore and what kind of project lets them do it … Is to stay here and grow old in place, which was not really an option before this project.
Weissman foresaw a continuation in Westchester of the trend to convert office buildings to other uses, noting that the St. Regis site had been the Dictaphone office building when the Weissman Company bought it two decades ago. .
“I think after the pandemic there will be less dependency on offices. I think people work remotely, go elsewhere and I just don’t see the need for as much office space as before (before the pandemic) and even then there was a huge vacancy factor in Westchester “Weissman said.
In the future, he said, the company will consider doing similar projects at the St. Regis residences, possibly in Westchester, New England and Long Island, and is considering acquiring a large group of hotels in the Midwest.